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anti-vaccinations VS death to your children
February 16, 2009 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Please stop screaming that my children will die.

Especially stop hoping for it. This thread really isn't about me. I'm not the best spokesperson to defend my position. But hoping for my children to die is really not cool.

I'm sure people would get pretty pissed if the subject were unprotected anal sex, and someone kept screaming that he hopes that they all die from aids. (it's preventable, right?)

anyway, kick me around in here, and maybe some real discussion can happen in the thread.
posted by Balisong to Etiquette/Policy at 7:33 AM (586 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Anybody hoping your children die is completely out of bounds. That said, can you point to some instances of people hoping your children die? As opposed to believing you're putting them (and others) at risk for poor reasons?
posted by Justinian at 7:48 AM on February 16, 2009


There are a lot of smug asses passing wind in that thread. Hoping for kids to die is beyond the pale.
posted by caddis at 7:49 AM on February 16, 2009


Reposted from the other thread:

Balisong,
As one of the immunocompromised people you were apparently unaware of until yesterday, I'm directly affected by the arrogance, ignorance, and selfishness of you and people like you. Your idiocy could cause me to contract a life-threatening or fatal illness. I'm actually sympathetic to the (misguided) fears some parents have about vaccination -- but your smug recklessness is just breathtaking.
posted by myeviltwin at 8:44 AM on February 16 [+] [!]


I guess this is a better place to say it.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:50 AM on February 16, 2009 [29 favorites]


flaterik: You're too kind. I hope his kids die. Because it seems like that's what it's going to take, a few thousand anti-vax kids dying of diseases we can vaccinate against to snap people back to reality. Better that than a serious pandemic down the road.
posted by Grimgrin at 2:24 AM on February 16 [+] [!]

posted by caddis at 7:53 AM on February 16, 2009


By the way, I sincerely hope that your children stay well and that neither they nor anyone else are affected by your deliberate decision to endanger their health.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:53 AM on February 16, 2009 [70 favorites]


The people saying that they hope your children die are dicks, no question, but I don't think they meant it - they were just trying to make an extreme point, and did so poorly.

That said, in no way do a few assholes on the internet change the fact that you've chosen to throw your lot in with Jenny McCarthy and RFK, Jr. instead of decades of medical research and the proven benefits of vaccinations. It's your life, live it how you want, but honestly I think most people just wanted the opportunity to say, "Wow, you're an idiot, I'll never take anything you say seriously again."
posted by billysumday at 7:54 AM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ok I found it:

http://www.metafilter.com/79194/Earth-Not-Flat-After-All#2453969

This is awful. That said, he's being an asshole on a website and not actually putting anyone at risk. On the other hand, Balisong, you're being nice on a website and endangering others. I'd say both of those things are wrong but that one is more wrong than the other.
posted by Justinian at 7:54 AM on February 16, 2009 [27 favorites]


I think the issue is less that people care about your children in particular, and more that unvaccinated children help to nurture diseases that were all but wiped out at one point, and give those diseases a toehold from which they can spread to people whose vaccinations have worn off or were not as effective as they ought to have been. You're pretty much fine if your polio vaccination doesn't take all the way but no one around you has polio. It's a different case entirely when someone does have it and can spread it to you.

Also, there's the fact that pretty much every reason people give for not vaccinating their children has been demonstrated false, and people in Metafilter by and large don't care for people who refuse to acknowledge reality. Same reason we have still have lolxian threads, as distasteful as many of us also find those, and threads railing against deregulation-based economic policies, especially lately.

I haven't really read the thread, so I can't address it more than that. But with the combination of "public-safety hazard" and "refuses to acknowledge reality," it's unsurprising to me that anti-vaccination people can light a fire under the seats of some MeFites.
posted by Caduceus at 7:56 AM on February 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


Oh yeah, I didn't even think of people with immune disorders. They're put at risk, too. And people undergoing chemo and radiation therapy. They have enough to worry about without the risk of getting mumps, too.
posted by Caduceus at 7:57 AM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Well there's one that I could find.

flaterik: You're too kind. I hope his kids die. Because it seems like that's what it's going to take, a few thousand anti-vax kids dying of diseases we can vaccinate against to snap people back to reality. Better that than a serious pandemic down the road.
posted by Grimgrin at 2:24 AM


That was in response to flaterik's "But I really believe that you've chosen incorrectly here. Chances are it will turn out OK for you and your children, and I truly hope that it does."

Grimgrin's comment is pretty quickly called out, but then becomes "the rather uncalled-for comments about hoping Balisong's children die" when Scattercat talks about it later. Still, I just see the one.
posted by mediareport at 7:57 AM on February 16, 2009


Is this the pattern? Instead of defending indefensible behavior, it's obfuscation and distraction, calling everybody's attention to one inappropriate comment instead of looking in the mirror and deciding whether or not the decisions you've made are endangering the lives of your children and those around you? Because if so, I don't want to be any part of your manufactured victimization.
posted by billysumday at 8:00 AM on February 16, 2009 [57 favorites]


billysumday's right; Balisong is really obfuscating here. He's calling people out for pointing out that he's taking a risk with his children's lives, and trying with the unprotected anal sex metaphor to blur the line between one arguably delete-worthy comment and the vast number of other comments in that thread.
posted by mediareport at 8:04 AM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not obfuscation. Whether Balisong is right or wrong about his vaccine decision (I say wrong) does not justify Grimgrin's comment.
posted by caddis at 8:05 AM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't really want to wade through that thread, but billysumday, if your comments in this thread are any indication of what you've written in the Blue, Balisong clearly made the right call by starting this thread.

Personally, I find your comments here personal and downright nasty. Acting like a jackass will in no way change anyone's mind around here, even though it may make you feel better.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:05 AM on February 16, 2009


Yeah seriously. Sorry, but your mindbogglingly stupid decision to not vaccinate, against all real-world evidence saying you should, affects all the rest of us in highly non-trivial ways. And that idiocy needs to be called out and stomped on at every possible opportunity. You are just barely a step above AIDS denialists.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:06 AM on February 16, 2009 [17 favorites]


Not obfuscation. Whether Balisong is right or wrong about his vaccine decision (I say wrong) does not justify Grimgrin's comment.

Absolutely. Nothing justifies Grimgrin's comment. But then nobody is trying to justify it. It was one bad comment, called out and defended by nobody in the thread, and has essentially no impact on anything. It was a bad comment. Now can we get past it? Focusing on one comment that nobody is even trying to justify is simply a way to deflect attention from the fact that people who don't vaccinate their kids are opting out of the compact of civilized society.
posted by Justinian at 8:08 AM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


The proper response would have been to flag it and move on, not to defend your endangerment of your own children and immunocompromised people like myeviltwin.
posted by oaf at 8:08 AM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


The "I hope his kids die" comment was over the line and I nixed it. There's a lot of more grey-area obnoxiousness in various directions that would be nuts to try and clean up at this point, though, so that's probably it for the thread so far.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:09 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


We both have done our research. Read several books on vaccinations, gone to seminars both pro and anti vaccs. and to tell you the truth, we still might get them done, but right now, we are pretty comfortable in our decisions.

Balisong,

You are frustrating - because I'm humming the same tune as you (with respect to freedom to make decisions and getting crappy treatment sometimes from doctors), but my lyrics are different! It's as though you've made the wrong decision for the right reasons.

You say you've read "several books" on the subject - can you say what they were?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:10 AM on February 16, 2009


You know, I just had to have this conversation with my 2 year old, but here goes.
Everybody dies.
Being born is a death sentence.
Most of the time, it's from something that is preventable, for a while.

You all will die. My children will die. I will die. Plants die. Cats die. I've had trucks that have died, and our house will eventually fall apart.

I know, it's hard to think about, but it's true.

Your anger is misdirected. Diseases are preventable, but if it's not that, it'll be something else.

Please just think about how your hateful comments are directed at a PERSON and not the subject of the thread.
posted by Balisong at 8:10 AM on February 16, 2009


We've lent out a few books, but one that I could find easy is "Vaccinations: A thoughtful parents guide" by Aviva Jill Romm
posted by Balisong at 8:14 AM on February 16, 2009


I'm hoping I don't die because you didn't immunize your kids.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:14 AM on February 16, 2009 [32 favorites]


One asshole does not make a pattern. This callout is unnecessary for dealing with that solitary comment that hasn't exactly set off a firestorm of agreement.

On the other hand, there definitely is an anti-Balisong attitude in that thread. People seem to think you are endangering your children and others.

Well, you are endangering your children and others. I know this must be hard to accept, but it is true.

Please just think about how your hateful comments are directed at a PERSON and not the subject of the thread.

Are you now complaining about all of the comments generally? Because the one hoping your kids would die has been deleted.
posted by grouse at 8:15 AM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Your anger is misdirected. Diseases are preventable, but if it's not that, it'll be something else.

Balisong, this is not a good argument. Would you just shrug your shoulders if somebody got drunk and ran one of your loved ones over because, hey, if it wasn't that it would be something else? Not vaccinating is the equivalent of getting your load on and jumping behind the wheel; sure, you'll probably make it home without killing anybody but just taking the chance is morally bankrupt.
posted by Justinian at 8:17 AM on February 16, 2009 [17 favorites]


You all will die. My children will die. I will die. Plants die. Cats die. I've had trucks that have died, and our house will eventually fall apart.

♫Two to three of these things is not like the others,
Two to three of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which two to three things is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?♫
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:17 AM on February 16, 2009 [11 favorites]


Of course I'm being personal. Thought that was pretty obvious when, in the original thread, I said that I was personally judging Balisong. Stand by it.
posted by billysumday at 8:18 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


That comment of Grimgrin's was well out of order and was called out in-thread. But I also count a couple of direct wishes for the good health of Balisong's family. I don't see any 'screaming that Balisong's family will die' or anything that could be reasonably described as such.

And Balisong's first comment in the thread included 'you can take your herd mentality and shove it where the herd don't graze', so a request here for 'real discussion' seems a trifle disingenuous.

That's not to say that the tone of the comments in that thread was terribly helpful overall and I think serazin (who is pro-vaccination) got shouted at simply for wondering whether shouting at people was a good idea.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:19 AM on February 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think if you are going to go as far as to not vaccinate your kids out of fear of something that has no scientific proof, you should definitely keep them away from TV.
posted by jefeweiss at 8:21 AM on February 16, 2009


And that idiocy needs to be called out and stomped on at every possible opportunity.

No, it really doesn't. Called out, yes. Stomped on, not so much. It's not that I have any particular respect for the anti-vaccine crowd, but we pro-vaccine types really need to do everything we can to persuade the other side precisely because this issue is so important. Stomping on them doesn't fall into the "everything we can" category.

Not all the stuff people were saying was as blatantly inappropriate as "I hope your kids die, motherfucker!" But an awful lot of it was pretty smug and insulting. The thread pretty quickly became a big jerkoff session for people who like to talk about how smart they are. I can't say I'm surprised, but I am somewhat disappointed. I would like to think that most people are more interested in solving the problem than in stroking their own egos. So much for that idea.
posted by Commander Rachek at 8:22 AM on February 16, 2009 [11 favorites]


The thread pretty quickly became a big jerkoff session for people who like to talk about how smart they are.

What a hideous mischaracterization.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:23 AM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


The argument for reasoned, polite discourse is that it has a better chance of convincing the anti-vaccination people of changing their minds. But I've never seen any evidence that anti-vax adherents ever change their minds no matter what evidence you present them. It's like trying to reason a creationist out of creationism; their position isn't based on rationality, it's based on emotion.

You can't logic someone out of an emotional position. You just can't.

So the alternative is to make the anti-vax position as unacceptable in civilized society as racism or some other bigotry.
posted by Justinian at 8:24 AM on February 16, 2009 [14 favorites]


but we pro-vaccine types really need to do everything we can to persuade the other side precisely because this issue is so important.

You can't. You can't persuade the other side through reasoned argument.
posted by Justinian at 8:25 AM on February 16, 2009


Diseases are preventable

And vaccines are an excellent way to prevent them.
posted by cjets at 8:26 AM on February 16, 2009 [25 favorites]


I think when someone says something as damning as "hope his kids die" it is merely a symptom of absolute frustration. The two sides are never going to see eye-to-eye and one side is being so obviously selfish and ignorant.

It's the same thing between religious people and non-religious people. The two sides will never meet so the only thing that either side can do is something along the lines of "can't wait until the other side DIES, then when there is/is not heaven they will know they were wrong.

Some people have this habit of breeding ignorance until the shit hits the fan. It's absolutely mindboggling and terrifying. Anti-vac, climate change, overpopulation...etc As long as things "seem" okay there will be people who ignore these things. It won't be until most of us are dead that anything will ever really get done.

So if I say "hope those kids die" it's only because I cannot see any other way for change to occur. I don't really want any child to die, it's awful, but I'd rather it be yours and not mine because of your stubbornness.

You aren't going to learn not to touch the burning hot coal until you scorch your hand on it, or in the case of not-vac, until your neighbor scorches his hand.

I am tired of being afraid of all the things that can happen to me because of what stupid people do. It's not fair goddamnit.
posted by M Edward at 8:26 AM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


We've lent out a few books, but one that I could find easy is "Vaccinations: A thoughtful parents guide" by Aviva Jill Romm

Here's a review of the book on Amazon:

I was looking for an objective, informative book on vaccines and didn't find it here. Some info. in book is outdated and it really does not leave one with a clear idea of anything, let alone what to do about vaccinating or not. I was a little disturbed by all the homeopathic, herbal stuff thrown in. Garlic lemonade, for instance, to boost the immune system??? There are a lot of wild, strange concoctions listed in this book, not sure they really belong in the same book but . . . . I didn't like that the author suggested trying herbal remedies and "wait and see" approaches if your child should contract a disease that they weren't vaccinated for. I should think that seeking medical attention FIRST would be what most parents would do. A very strange approach to the issue, I was very happy to return this book and get my money back. Other child wellness books, such as those by Dr. Walt Larimore, are a much better, more educated bet.

Enjoy your garlic lemonade, Balisong.
posted by cjets at 8:32 AM on February 16, 2009 [17 favorites]


Everybody dies.

Eventually. Doesn't have to happen now. So maybe try not to take the rest of us with you, Typhoid Mary.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:34 AM on February 16, 2009 [33 favorites]


You can't. You can't persuade the other side through reasoned argument.

That is exactly the attitude I'm talking about. You are writing them all off as "Freemasons run everything" style conspiracy theorists. Certainly the ringleaders are like that, but they're not going to have their minds changed. That 1/4 or so of the population who follow these ringleaders? I find it highly unlikely that every single one of them is totally inflexible on this; most of them have just been hoodwinked by some very manipulative people. What educated types need to do is to present a reasoned argument for our side in an accessible form. Beating them round the head doesn't count as accessible.

By calling them stupid baby-killers you are making them close their minds to you. Don't do it. It may be true, but don't do it. It's counter-productive. If you can't help but call them stupid baby-killers, go do it where they can't hear you.
posted by Commander Rachek at 8:37 AM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


What educated types need to do is to present a reasoned argument for our side in an accessible form. Beating them round the head doesn't count as accessible.

Can you point to an example in any recent thread on MetaFilter in which somebody arguing the anti-vaccine position showed any interest at all in the multiple links people provide to studies that demonstrate no link between vaccines and autism, Commander Rachek, that would support that postition?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:41 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Riki tiki put it very well in the other thread.

We tried appealing to reason and they ignored it. We tried appealing to their better natures and they chose to act selfishly (and failed even to serve their own interests). So no. No new compromises; the current one is already too far. No more hand-holding, no more "teach the controversy." They are OBJECTIVELY wrong by the very best measures we have available to us, and if they refuse to see it then the only viable option left to us is to marginalize them in no uncertain terms.
posted by billysumday at 8:46 AM on February 16, 2009 [11 favorites]


I think Balisong had a point here (in a roundabout way):

OK, so WHY is it a decision that I can have a choice on at all?

Maybe once healthcare is finally free, people will show up at my doorstep with a syringe and a court order, and do things to my children against my will.


Arguing with individual anti-vac people is not going to solve the problem. There have to be systematic safeguards in place that prevent people from making bad decisions that could result in their children or other people dying.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:49 AM on February 16, 2009


Not obfuscation. Whether Balisong is right or wrong about his vaccine decision (I say wrong) does not justify Grimgrin's comment.

caddis, my point is that in his framing of this MeTa, Balisong deliberately blurred the line between Grimgrin's comment and the folks arguing he's putting his children at risk. "Please stop screaming that my children will die" is not a statement about Grimgrin.
posted by mediareport at 9:00 AM on February 16, 2009


but we pro-vaccine types really need to do everything we can to persuade the other side precisely because this issue is so important.

You cannot reason someone out of a position they have arrived at irrationally.
posted by dersins at 9:01 AM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


"Vaccinations: A thoughtful parents guide" by Aviva Jill Romm...

Like cjets, I also checked the reviews of the Romm book, Balisong - and I can see it's lucid and holistically appealing - even though Romm appears insufficently qualified for the task she's set herself.

(I liked the reviewer who wrote: "I love the fact that there is info provided on alternative remedies, but where the hell am I going to get 1/2 ounce Chinese skullcap and 1/2 ounce cleavers tincture, forsythia, scrophularia, and dried lemongrass. I live in a small town in Canada for pete's sake.")

When you qualify your anti-vaccine stance by saying you are "pretty comfortable" with your current decision - are you implying you are waiting for something in particular to change your mind?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:11 AM on February 16, 2009


Can you point to an example in any recent thread on MetaFilter in which somebody arguing the anti-vaccine position showed any interest at all in the multiple links people provide to studies that demonstrate no link between vaccines and autism, Commander Rachek, that would support that postition?

Those arguing the anti-vac position ≠ those sympathetic to anti-vac reading the thread. The hardcore believers (due to financial interest, pathological suspicion of authority etc.) will stay fixated, but the bulk of the vaccine sceptics (who are 19% of the US population according to the link on the blue) are, IMO, persuadable. AIDS denialism, 9/11 conspiracy and satanic abuse were all believed by scarily large proportions of people at one point but, afaik, they have declined over time even if the loud voices will continue forever.

I don't care what Jenny McCarthy believes as an individual, this, perhaps more than any other controversy, is about winning over raw numbers of people to a belief that vaccination is the correct decision. I've been persuaded to change my mind by calm, reasoned debate over a number of issues. No one has ever insulted me out of a position.

This is not like racism or other bigotries which are about value judgments and thus only susceptible to marginilising. This is about facts and it can and should be won on those terms. Just because a belief is irrational, it does not make the holder of that belief immune to rational argument.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:12 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


How about we make a deal? We'll be respectful towards you when you stop willfully endangering the health and lives of all the immunocompromised people in your community because of an irrationally-held belief with no backing in logic or science. Seems fair, yes?
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:13 AM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


You all will die. My children will die. I will die. Plants die. Cats die. I've had trucks that have died, and our house will eventually fall apart.

I would've cried if you told me that when I was two.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:13 AM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


All you pro-vaccine people really get me.
Every time someone or agency comes out with information that something should be done "for your own good, and the good of society" you used to rail against it.
It sounds like the type of argument that the Bush administration used to use to pass PATRIOT acts.
Do it. Do it all. Do it now. Don't question it. You'll be sorry later if you don't.

Well, you can take your herd mentality and shove it where the herd don't graze.

The risk is my own children, not the herd.
If my child doesn't get vac. and yours does, and they play together, yours won't get diseases because they've been vacced. Mine doesn't get it because yours have been vacced. Unless, you know, they aren't 100% effective, which they aren't. Even with the full regimen of vaccs, you can still contract the disease, sometimes, if it didn't take. So all you have is a false sense of security. At least I know to blame myself if something happens. Who will you, or can you blame if you get them and still contract the disease? Nobody. Nobody will listen to you, and you will get shouted down on internet forums.
I don't generally trust doctors for much. I've been mis-diagnosed, overcharged, and given the wrong prescripts because they were free samples that would "probably do the same thing" to what I needed. (antibiotics) Both my kids were homebirthed, and have never been to see a doctor in their lives. 3 years. They are both extremely healthy. They'll probably be homeschooled, too.

But what the hell do I know. I also don't declaw my cats, and haven't circumcised my little boy either. It's just another one of those hard decisions that you have to make when raising your own kids.

If you want mandatory intervention in your lives and the lives of those around you, there are plenty of OTHER countries that will be happy to oblige. This is land of freedom, and the freedom to do or not with my own body and my kids is one of the freedoms I cherish most.
posted by Balisong at 11:02 PM on February 15 [1 favorite +] [!]


Balisong, I hope your kids will be fine. But you are an idiot. an irresponsible, foolish, science-denying, selfish, idiot.

Some kids can't get vaccinated because they have severe allergies, or other health issues. Herd mentality? If most of the herd is protected(vaccinated), then those kids with health issues are protected.

Screw you for calling me a herd-following, unthinking believer in the FUCKING PATRIOT ACT. I've looked carefully at the evidence, and my child is vaccinated. You're following the anti-establishment herd, and your kids are safer because my kid took some risk. There is a tiny risk of adverse reactions to vaccines. Not autism, by the way, but there are adverse reactions. But now that so many knee-jerk, science-ignoring, fools are leaving their children unvaccinated, there are kids dying of measles. There will be babies with birth defects because of exposure to measles. That's just wrong. Wrong as in bad, immoral, irresponsible and selfish.

I'm glad you keep your kids at home. It reduces the risk that they'll get measles or polio or chicken pox and transmit it. By the way, I had chicken pox, and shingles later in life sucks. Ever meet somebody who limps because they had polio? Probably not, unless you hang out with 3rd world-ers who didn't get vaccinated and lived in a world with active polio. My stepfather, a really great guy, had post-polio syndrome late in life, the poor guy. He didn't complain much, but anti-vacciners pissed him right off. He got polio before the vaccine existed.

Question it. Research it. Get educated. Then vaccinate your kids for the good of all the kids. Instead, you are letting your kids benefit from the aggregate tiny risks that everybody else's kids took, and you get zero respect. But I truly hope your kids are okay.
posted by theora55 at 9:17 AM on February 16, 2009 [48 favorites]


You cannot reason someone out of a position they have arrived at irrationally.

This is precisely the right point. And the truth is, we have no way of knowing how people came to their positions; all we can do is rationally explain ours. And people often assume others' rationale (usually as a strawman).

This is what frustrates me about the inherent hostility around here. Rational explanation soon becomes vitriol, heated rhetoric, and eventually ad hominem. And it's casually allowed (not a shot at mods, but at the user base in general) because on various issues group think prevails.

(As a personal example, a year ago you could walk into a finance or economics thread and get a variety of opinions; now that we're experiencing a financial crisis, it's as if the entire site just went populist/Marxist. Smarter people are drowned out, or even stop commenting altogether, because there's no point anymore.)
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:18 AM on February 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


Hosephat, I just got one o' them injections fer grajewit school! Head for the hills, the autism's comin' to git allvus!

or

How is babby deformed?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:21 AM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Can you point to an example in any recent thread on MetaFilter in which somebody arguing the anti-vaccine position showed any interest at all in the multiple links people provide to studies that demonstrate no link between vaccines and autism, Commander Rachek, that would support that postition?

I understand your point. They are stubborn. They don't want to listen to reason. It is frustrating. But that isn't an excuse for beating them up. You won't change their minds that way.

I find this issue as frustrating as the rest of you do. The prospect of many unvaccinated people wandering around is pretty high on my list of things that keep me up at night. Furthermore, my cousin is very severely autistic; he is barely verbal and will almost certainly never live on his own. It really, really eats me up that some people would blame my aunt and uncle for his condition, would tell them "it's all your fault for giving him those vaccines." I hate it. I would like very much to scream at such people, and call them names, and probably clonk them on the head while I was at it.

But I don't, because that sort of behavior will only feed their ignorance. It is an easy reaction, and would certainly make me feel better in the short term, but it won't actually help anything. It won't stop people from insulting my family. It won't make me safer. It won't make my (hypothetical) kids safer. It will only make all of these things worse. So I don't do it.

You pro-vaccine folks are absolutely right. You are as right as can be. But please, please, please, for the sake of the common good, exercise a little self control and don't browbeat non-vaccinators. They might deserve it, they might deserve it a thousand times over, but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

I don't think I can say anything else, except that I'm sorry for being rude earlier. It was a moment of hypocritical weakness, and (surprise!) it didn't accomplish anything.
posted by Commander Rachek at 9:22 AM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's not like most of these people are hanging out on Metafilter anyways, so what's the difference?

The only thing that might possibly matter is if a question on AskMe about this has a high Google result.
posted by smackfu at 9:26 AM on February 16, 2009


Smarter people are drowned out, or even stop commenting altogether, because there's no point anymore.

I, for one, am much more interested in stronger people for this very reason. Smart recluses can enjoy their caveshadows for all I care.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:28 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope your children don't die, and I wish that you would take steps to make sure that they don't.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:35 AM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


All you pro-don't-light-yourself-on-fire people really get me.
Every time someone or agency or fire department or common sense or inevitable overwhelming and universally accepted advancement in medicine comes out with information that something should be done "for your own good, and the good of society, and for the love of GOD don't light yourself on fire" you used to rail against it.

It sounds like the type of argument that the BUSH administration used to use to pass TORTURE MURDER DARWIN acts.
Do it. Do it all. Do it now. Don't question "why you shouldn't actively set fire to your own hair." You'll be sorry later if you don't.

Well, you can take your sheep-le mentality and shove it where the flock don't shine.

The risk is my own children, not the herd.

If my child doesn't get not lit on fire and yours does, and they play together, yours won't also catch fire because they've been not dosed in gasoline. Mine doesn't get it because yours are running away, screaming "fire, fire!" Unless, you know, the adrenaline pumping through my kid's body causes him to run fast enough to overtake your kid. Even with the full regimen of not gasolines, you can still catch fire, sometimes, like if you get hit by lightening, or a Hadouken. So all you have is a false sense of security. At least I know to blame myself if something happens, like if the fire causes my kid to combust, which I should point out is just a theory. Who will you blame, or can you blame if you aren't doused with gasoline and still catch fire? Nobody. Nobody will listen to you, and you will get shouted down on internet fireman M4M anonymous web chat clients.

I don't generally trust doctors for much. Or scientists. Or anyone who can read. I've been mis-diagnosed, overcharged, and given the wrong prescripts, stabbed, shot, eaten, and Hadoukened by doctors all because they wanted to "get this party started on the floor tonight." Both my kids were homebirthed, and have never been to see a doctor in their lives. 3 years. They'll probably be homeschooled, too. And homecollegeded. They are both extremely healthy, as well as, if you want to use the facist language of "science," entirely imaginary. But does that mean that I hug them any less hard?

But what the hell do I know. I also don't not slam my dick in a door over and over until I pass out from pain, and don't believe in food, either. It's just another one of those hard decisions that you have to make when raising your own kids.

If you want mandatory Amerikkka Bush Hitler Patriot Act Darwin Orwell McDonalds Sammy Sosa intervention in your lives and the lives of those around you, there are plenty of OTHER Jew-conspiracy-AIDS-flat-earth-talking-pizza countries that will be happy to oblige.

But this is America. This is the land of freedom, and the freedom to light my kids on fire is one of the freedoms I cherish most.
posted by Damn That Television at 9:36 AM on February 16, 2009 [69 favorites]


I, for one, am much more interested in stronger people

Here's what I wrote about "stronger people" in another thread. I think "strength" has nothing to do with it. There are plenty of intelligent people who don't feel compelled to waste their time trying to argue with close (or shallow)-minded people. And it's the community's loss.

Want an example? This article goes into detail about how cities flourish when like-minded companies within an industry establishing a base of human capital within a city, which in turn spurs innovation. MetaFilter is not too different from that kind of concept.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:38 AM on February 16, 2009


Everybody dies.
Being born is a death sentence.
Most of the time, it's from something that is preventable, for a while.


Balisong, I generally respect the hell out of you, but I think we part the ways here on this subject. I believe that, as has been said, it is not just about the safety of your kids, but that of the people around you who may one day interact with your children and may be put at risk as a result.

But this thread isn't about that. It's about something inappropriate someone said, and I completely agree, no one should wish harm to your children for your decisions.

I just hope that you can see past that one stupid comment to the dozens of others who were far more thoughtful, and consider that for a lot of diseases, the reason that they've become "preventable, for a while" is a direct result of massive vaccinations making people inhospitable hosts.

I'm not the best spokesperson to defend my side either, but I've read enough of your comments here over the years to know that you are smart enough and willing to look at the solid facts available from both sides (or lack thereof) to do what is best for your kids, even if it means going against your nature, and doing the same thing that everyone else is doing.
posted by quin at 9:40 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I did general pediatrics and came across parents who refused to vaccinate their children, I employed the following method:

1. Listened to their reasons, attempted to provide factual information to counter their "My friend told me" or "My friend read this" arguments.

2. If #1 failed, then provided a clear explanation of the consequences of the childhood, vaccine-preventable illnessess that their children would be susceptible to. Also explained that when their child had rashes, fevers, other ambiguous symptoms, and ended up in the ER, that they should tell the ER doc that their child wasn't vaccinated so that that doctor wouldn't assume that the illness couldn't be mumps or Haemophilus meningitis, or epiglottitis. Explained that additional diagnostic tests would likely result.

3. If #1 and #2 failed, asked parents to sign the Am Academy of Pediatrics form for documentation of refusal to vaccinate.

4. Regardless of the outcome of #3, would transfer care of patient to a different provider and inform parent that because they were unwilling to partner with me in attempting to guarantee the best possible medical care for their child, I would not be willing to partner with them if it meant assuming the potential risk/liability of caring for an unvaccinated child, and being complicit in the potential transmission of vaccine-preventable illness to others.

5. Pick up next chart and move on.

I suggest acknowledging that aforementioned statements - that anti-vaccine people often cannot be talked out of their position, and moreover that arguing with them makes them cling to their belifs even more tightly - are true, and that the admins employ maneuver #5.
posted by scblackman at 9:42 AM on February 16, 2009 [125 favorites]


(Sorry, as in, developing a community or city that fosters creative thinking and diversity allows for innovation because intelligent people can communicate with one another.)
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:42 AM on February 16, 2009


Balisong, anyone who hopes that your children die is clearly wrong and acting in an indefensible manner. I'm sorry they said that to you.

That said, have you considered shutting your fool mouth when you don't have anything informed or intelligent to say?
posted by shmegegge at 9:46 AM on February 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


Balisong has a wrong understanding of how herd immunity works, and also doesn't seem to understand (or care) that the decision he and other parents like him have made to not vaccinate their kids is actively breaking down herd immunity. His inability or unwillingness to admit to his role (as a non-vaccinating parent) in increasing the risk that people who can't be vaccinated (due to immune deficiencies or age) will catch a disease that can kill them ("Everybody dies") is appalling.

I wonder if the parents of that kid in San Diego who started last year's measles outbreak simply shrugged their shoulders and said, well, everybody dies. I wonder if the parents of the unvaccinated-because-they-were-too-young infants who caught the disease from this kid felt the same way. I'm betting no.
posted by rtha at 9:52 AM on February 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


That thread is an absolute palimpsest of ironies, not least the way the people with reservations about vaccination, such as serazin and Balisong, come across as reasonable and thoughtful, whereas their opponents (thy name is legion) act as if they are in the throes of something you'd want to be vaccinated against should any of the liberal amounts of spittle they are spraying fall on broken skin.

As far as the immunocompromised are concerned, any of the vaccines containing live, attenuated strains are a direct danger to them, and can even be dangerous if they come into contact with a recently vaccinated individual:

Severe immunosuppression not associated with HIV can be the result of congenital immunodeficiency, leukemia, lymphoma, generalized malignancy or therapy with alkylating agents, antimetabolites, radiation, or large amounts of corticosteroids (1- 3). Virus replication after administration of live, attenuated-virus vaccines can be enhanced in severely immunocompromised persons (4-6). In general, these patients should not be administered live vaccines, with the exceptions noted below. In addition, OPV should not be administered to any household contact of a severely immunocompromised person. Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is not contraindicated for the close contacts (including health-care providers) of immunocompromised persons. [emphasis added]
posted by jamjam at 9:53 AM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


No one has ever insulted me out of a position.

I suppose that's true of most people. And shouting people down is a tad despicable, whether it's effective or not.

But if I can't get a guy to stop thinking "nigger" every time he sees a black person, I would at least like to make him mighty uncomfortable about saying it in public and spreading such nonsense to people who don't automatically think that way. If that requires ladling out a substantial helping of scorn now and then, as I think it does, it's worth it.

Similarly, there are lots of future parents out there who need never to hear any of this nonsense about not vaccinating their children. If they run into the notion at all, it needs to be as a piece of embarrassing old-time quackery, not as something proudly blathered about on television as if there were two sides to the argument.
posted by pracowity at 9:57 AM on February 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


The risk is my own children, not the herd.If my child doesn't get vac. and yours does, and they play together, yours won't get diseases because they've been vacced. Mine doesn't get it because yours have been vacced.

This is demonstrably not true. If we eliminate Polio, then nobody gets it. But as long as there are people who are not immunized, the disease remains a threat to all. Animal vectors, amongst other things, create ways for disease to make it into our midst. Not vaccinating is a threat to everyone.

That's why people get angry.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:58 AM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


There was a guy who used to live down the street from my parents who didn't believe in immunizations either. He also briefly played major league baseball and sold alumminum siding if that clarifies anything.
posted by jonmc at 9:59 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, you have to admit, a kid with polio will certainly stand out from "the herd." Iron lungs are the new nose rings.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:02 AM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


If I could favourite scblackman's comment more, I would.
posted by terrapin at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


On "House" a woman who was refusing to vaccinate her child was told that she should start looking into buying a tiny coffin. Can't find the quote online though.

Not that I take my medical advice from TV.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:04 AM on February 16, 2009


I can't help but be amused that you have no qualms about your bipedal disease incubators posing a risk to other people's lives, but are deeply disturbed by someone hurting your feelings on the internet—especially when the offending phrase is, by your own philosophy, hoping for the inevitable.
posted by CKmtl at 10:06 AM on February 16, 2009 [26 favorites]


I just wanted to chime in and mention that fears of epidemics caused by non-vaccination are not hypothetical. A few years ago there was a polio outbreak in northern Nigeria, and it looks like it's still going on (or was in may of 2008 when this article was written)

The outbreak was directly attributable to people refusing to have their kids vaccinated and has apparently resulted in 450 kids being paralyzed due to the disease a year.

This isn't just a third world problem, cases of measles and mumps have been going up in the UK, also due to non-vaccination.
posted by delmoi at 10:18 AM on February 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


jamjam, I'm seeing people argue that unvaccinated kids are a risk to those who cannot be vaccinated. I am not seeing people argue that those who cannot be vaccinated ought to be vaccinated anyway. Please point to the legion of comments that do so.

And if you define Balisong's "My kid's unvaccinated status does not put anyone except my kid at risk" position as reasonable...well, all I can is

what
posted by rtha at 10:24 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


er... is there a disconnect between complaining that a commenter went a bit overboard about wishing your children would die and then blithely saying:

You all will die. My children will die. I will die. Plants die. Cats die. I've had trucks that have died, and our house will eventually fall apart.

Yes, well all fucking die. But, generally we try and take reasonable steps to avoid it and rarely do things to enhance the risk without demonstrable reward.

What should happen is the parents who choose not to immunize should get their asses sued off the first time another kid contracts something from a non-immunized kid.
posted by edgeways at 10:29 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everybody dies.

Not everybody has to die from a painful disease or at a young age.
posted by mdn at 10:30 AM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


You all will die. My children will die.
. . .
Please stop screaming that my children will die.


After you.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:31 AM on February 16, 2009 [34 favorites]


AIDS denialism, 9/11 conspiracy and satanic abuse were all believed by scarily large proportions of people at one point but, afaik, they have declined over time even if the loud voices will continue forever.

See, I think you're making exactly the opposite point you were trying to make. Did belief in the above decline over time because people were persuaded by reasoned argument, or were those beliefs marginalized and ridiculed?

I think they were clearly marginalized and ridiculed.

So your examples would seem to me to provide support for the method that you are ostensibly decrying.
posted by Justinian at 10:33 AM on February 16, 2009


The vaccine issue runs afoul of two enormous programming errors in humans:

1) Science. People don't do science well. The US and the UK have a fairly serious anti-science bent a great deal of the time, but it extends to all of humanity: you can still see people flipping out about the LHC. By and large, millions of dollars and hundreds of careful experiments by strangers mean nothing against the panicked whispers of neighbors and celebrities (our idols to ape). The wide, rolling eyes and the stink of fear coming off of a parent whose child has autism just cuts right through any rational thought. We've so enshrined victimhood that any suffering parent (and their suffering is legitimate) with a trembling, pointing will be believed as long as they screech and cry enough. Should a celebrity repeat the "fact," it might as well be in Britannica.

2) Raising My Kid. Emphasis on my. Reality and the external world are so hard to control, but you can indoctrinate a child with the world as you would like to see it and do so with everyone's blessing. Raise your kid to think that the penis-stealing witches are coming for him? Sure, go for it! Teach her that the world is a mere six thousand years old, and that her place in it would be the kitchen? Why not? It's your kid, do what you like. This is free form, go nuts! In some ways, we have better prescribed ways of treating our pets than we do our kids. Until we stop viewing procreation and the raising of children as our "God-given right" and something we were equipped to do because hey, I turned out okay and I still have functioning reproductive organs, we'll see this continue.
posted by adipocere at 10:34 AM on February 16, 2009 [37 favorites]


As someone who doesn't have a dog in this fight, I respectfully invite the pro-vacc majority to view the anti-vacc minority through some lens other than "They're trying to kill me / my children / everyone else's children". I suspect they're simply trying to protect their own children from a frightening and poorly understood menace using their best judgment - however scientifically disputed that judgment might be. Remembering that "it's not about you" won't reduce the risks, of course. But it may make your unavoidable co-existence less teeth-gritting to bear.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:37 AM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


My father had polio as a young man. Later, he walked with a limp. Still later, the limp got progressively worse, until he had to use a walker. If he'd lived long enough, it would have been a wheelchair.

He was one of the lucky ones. Please don't leave the door to my children's world open to those diseases.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:38 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not that I take my medical advice from TV.

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV.

As much as I agree with rtha (hi rtha!), I don't know that there is a way to change someones mind on this. when it comes to your kids, it's an emotional look at risk and the associated statistics, and folks will rationalize their interpretation of the data to be in line with whatever side they emotionally fall in to.

If you have interpreted the data, regardless of whether that interpretation is methodical and rational, to lead you to one particular viewpoint as it pertains directly to your child, I think you're going to have a hard time accepting that what you believe is appropriate for your child is outweighed by how the data and decisions you make impacts a child who is not yours.

People are selfish and protective of their kids, and it's hard to be impartial rational about your kids. It's a biological survival thing, and I don't know if empathy extends that far for people. I haven't tested this myself, but hope to in the not too distant future when I have my own kids, it could very well be that I lack the experience to make a call that is emotionally linked to a rugrat, from my interpretation of the data not vaccinating seems contrary to the best knowledge we have available for insuring that a child is not harmed by diseases for which there are vaccinations.
posted by iamabot at 10:40 AM on February 16, 2009


So I'm guessing that, unlike some Canadian provinces, your children are not forced to be vaccinated to attend public school? Because I've known kids you got pulled out mid-term because that's when their vaccinations 'expired,' and were banned from the premises until they provided proof of vaccination.

Cause that sorts vaguely crazy to me.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:42 AM on February 16, 2009


Joe Beese, that's discounting the whole "their infected unvaccinated child can get others sick" part of the equation. Do what you want to your body, but don't infringe on others.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:44 AM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


So I'm guessing that, unlike some Canadian provinces, your children are not forced to be vaccinated to attend public school?

No, supposedly you need to be vaccinated to attend public school but the anti-vax folks are so strident that in a lot of places you can now exempt your kids simply by filling out a "philosophical objection" form. It used to be a religious exemption which makes sense, but it's been watered down to the point that pretty much anybody can get out of it just by filling out a form.
posted by Justinian at 10:47 AM on February 16, 2009


You cannot reason someone out of a position they have arrived at irrationally.

Yes you can at times, but not always. And to be honest, assuming that you can't from the get-go will sometimes justify pretty mean behavior, because those who are in the know will often assume there are no better alternatives than to try to force people out of their position with a verbal beating.

I grieve where public discourse is going these days, for the most part. For polarizing issues, it's almost always based on the assumption that anyone on the wrong side of things is, by definition, being irrational, and thus the only appropriate response is to heap scorn on them in the hope that others will either side with you to help maintain the majority vote, or you can simply get the other side to shut up. It's really hard to have a good conversation these days over social or political issues where two diametrically opposed sides are represented.

And if someone responds to this by saying, well, the other side is simply so wrong that they don't deserve representation, that's pretty much what I'm talking about. That fundamental assumption simply create two sides that throw words at each other, and are really successful in preaching to their own choir, but never making converts.

Although it should be primarily about the logic, it's more about the tone of discourse. And when the tone is right, this is when people who arrive at positions irrationally are willing to look at the errors that got them there.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:47 AM on February 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


Besides, you know who else was in favor of government-mandated medical procedures.

(I keed.)
posted by Joe Beese at 10:50 AM on February 16, 2009


I was at school with a guy who had polio when he was a kid. He was a few years older than me and from southern (I think) Mexico. He didn't get the vaccination and he was permanently on crutches. It's a horrible disease that has been controlled in the west by vaccination. Measles, Mumps and Rubella are familiar names to us, so familiar that we treat them as no big deal. They are nasty diseases that can kill (and if they don't kill can do ghastly things to adults as well, google adult mumps) and the reason that we're so unafraid of them is because of vaccination.
posted by ob at 10:50 AM on February 16, 2009


That thread is an absolute palimpsest of ironies, not least the way the people with reservations about vaccination, such as serazin and Balisong, come across as reasonable and thoughtful

Like where serazin chides me for pointing out that perhaps, in this case, telling your doctor you don't travel, but omitting the fact you take the subway, is like telling someone you know this hedge fund that's had consistently great returns, but omitting the fact that it's run by Bernie Madoff?
posted by oaf at 10:59 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a difference between "reasonable and thoughtful" and "calm".
posted by Flunkie at 11:15 AM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Balisong: We've lent out a few books, but one that I could find easy is "Vaccinations: A thoughtful parents guide" by Aviva Jill Romm

Hey, Balisong: I've been following that thread, and I felt like it was a bit crazy; but hey, that's what Mefi can be for. I didn't like the awful insult, and am glad that it appears to have been deleted. I even considered for a few moments commenting to point out that liza made a pretty good point about the commercialization of the FDA and the role it plays in this debate. I didn't because the thread seemed crazy enough already.

I'm glad you brought this to MeTa, however, because now I have completely free rein to say a few things I'd wanted to say. To wit:

The reason people are getting so angry and upset, a reason they themselves might not be fully aware of, is, I believe, to be found in the modern betrayal of science. See, science doesn't understand politics and social justice, so it doesn't always know how to deal with its dissemination and how to correct problems of perception. The biggest manifestation of this problem is the industrialization of the sciences. Who funds scientific research? Why is it almost always the major corporations that have something to gain from a particular outcome? This is especially worrisome in medical research, chiefly because those who sell medicines make a hefty profit from the viability of their products; which is to say, they gain if the government says their product is safe, even if it's not.

Everyone knows that this is a problem now. Those who claim it's not probably work for a pharmaceutical company. But consider the impact: since everyone knows that this is a problem, since everyone knows that science is at risk at the hands of the industry it serves, public trust in science erodes. My dad's a scientist, and this is an issue of great personal angst for him; he's always talking about those days when he was a child when scientists were the guardians of the public good in some way, and he gets extremely upset at scientists that he sees as compromised by the moneymaking impulse. Whether the science is true or not, whether the science is beneficial or not, people are less likely to trust it now than they've been in at least a generation.

This is vexing for those who care about science. It's even vexing for those who are aware that science is remarkably beneficial.

Now, I'm not a scientist by any stretch. I identify more with philosophy and spirituality. My intellectual ancestors are people like Frithjof Schuon and Meister Eckhart; I lean toward the mystics. And, hell, I'll throw this in, too: I'm skeptical of natural science, and I don't believe that it gives us a complete picture of the world. And you know what? I also like the Grateful Dead, for what it's worth.

But I need to make this clear: vaccination is good science. It's beneficial. Its benefits are proven, not by pharmaceutical-funded studies done in back rooms to benefit big drug companies, but by medical science done by doctors and nurses who are seeking to save lives. Drugs may seem worrying nowadays, but vaccinations in general and especially vaccinations like the MMR vaccination at issue in the thread there are the products not of a commercialized for-profit industry but by a network of millions of doctors and patients carefully seeking a cure for real diseases. You can rest assured that benefit to human health is all that's on their minds.

I know it takes some research to discover this, but please don't let your tendency to be skeptical of certainty and expensive medical research (which I understand because I share it) get in the way of the realization that vaccination is by and large good for us and good for our children. Note carefully that the MMR vaccine that the thread is about is not subject to any license, is available in different forms from different companies, and was developed almost forty years ago.
posted by koeselitz at 11:15 AM on February 16, 2009 [52 favorites]


By the way, I found this abstract of a paper on the last Measles outbreak in the US, caused by a 17-year-old girl returning home to Indiana from a trip to Romania, somewhat interesting:

This outbreak was caused by the importation of measles into a population of children whose parents had refused to have them vaccinated because of safety concerns about the vaccine. High vaccination levels in the surrounding community and low rates of vaccine failure averted an epidemic. Maintenance of high rates of vaccination coverage, including improved strategies of communication with persons who refuse vaccination, is necessary to prevent future outbreaks and sustain the elimination of measles in the United States.
posted by koeselitz at 11:26 AM on February 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


balisong, your first post in the thread was this:
All you pro-vaccine people really get me.
Every time someone or agency comes out with information that something should be done "for your own good, and the good of society" you used to rail against it.
It sounds like the type of argument that the Bush administration used to use to pass PATRIOT acts.
Do it. Do it all. Do it now. Don't question it. You'll be sorry later if you don't.

Well, you can take your herd mentality and shove it where the herd don't graze.

The risk is my own children, not the herd.
If my child doesn't get vac. and yours does, and they play together, yours won't get diseases because they've been vacced. Mine doesn't get it because yours have been vacced. Unless, you know, they aren't 100% effective, which they aren't. Even with the full regimen of vaccs, you can still contract the disease, sometimes, if it didn't take. So all you have is a false sense of security. At least I know to blame myself if something happens. Who will you, or can you blame if you get them and still contract the disease? Nobody. Nobody will listen to you, and you will get shouted down on internet forums.
I don't generally trust doctors for much. I've been mis-diagnosed, overcharged, and given the wrong prescripts because they were free samples that would "probably do the same thing" to what I needed. (antibiotics) Both my kids were homebirthed, and have never been to see a doctor in their lives. 3 years. They are both extremely healthy. They'll probably be homeschooled, too.

But what the hell do I know. I also don't declaw my cats, and haven't circumcised my little boy either. It's just another one of those hard decisions that you have to make when raising your own kids.

If you want mandatory intervention in your lives and the lives of those around you, there are plenty of OTHER countries that will be happy to oblige. This is land of freedom, and the freedom to do or not with my own body and my kids is one of the freedoms I cherish most.
In other words, you were trolling for a reaction.

You got what you were trolling for. What are you complaining about?
posted by rjs at 11:27 AM on February 16, 2009 [15 favorites]


On a number of occasions, I've gone before courts to get orders from courts to over-ride the medical decisions of a parent when it jeopardizes the welfare of a child. Frequently it comes up in the context of Jehovah's Witnesses who refuse blood products for their children because of their belief that if their child receives blood products, they will somehow go to hell. So what happens is the neonatologists will contact the hospital's general counsel who then call me. Within a couple of hours I am in front of a judge with an Application for Temporary Restraining Order. I cite to the long established precedent that the state acts in parens patriae and can over-ride the medical wishes of the parents when the child's welfare is being jeopardized by the discretionary decisions of the parent. Sometimes the family shows up to argue their case; sometimes they don't. We always have an affidavit from the treating physician that this child needs this treatment or, in all reasonable medical probability, the child will suffer. The result is always the same. The Court grants my Application and signs an order authorizing the use of blood products to treat the children.

It occurs to me that from a legal perspective, I could use the same legal arguments to get an order over-riding a parent's refusal based on the arguments made by Balisong.
posted by dios at 11:31 AM on February 16, 2009 [24 favorites]


Thanks koeselitz. I just tried to present what is essentially the first half of your comment (some reasons behind the suspicions) over here but you presented those well and then answered them.
posted by salvia at 11:32 AM on February 16, 2009


Thank you, salvia.
posted by koeselitz at 11:34 AM on February 16, 2009


Besides, you know who else was in favor of government-mandated medical procedures.

Dammit, I just made a Hitler joke over in the other thread. Anyway, wanted to point out as a meta-issue that not only am I passionately pro-vaccine, but I a) have a kid and b) have actually had an adverse reaction to a vaccine.

A couple of months ago, I got a pneumonia vaccine (to help protect my alveoli-challenged kid). I had some kind of reaction to it, and wound up running a high fever and had some major swelling. I had to go back to the doctor and get some very strong antibiotics and steroids to reverse what was a very painful and debilitating reaction. You know what? I'm fine with that. Such reactions are so rare as to be vanishingly improbable. I am healthy and I fought it off (with some MORE help from medical science) and now I don't have to take that damn vaccine again, so I'm good.
posted by norm at 11:43 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, something in this strikes me as hinky:

I'm sure people would get pretty pissed if the subject were unprotected anal sex, and someone kept screaming that he hopes that they all die from aids. (it's preventable, right?)

Why specifically unprotected anal sex? Is this some sort of GRID throwback? Or an allusion to some sort of gay bias on MeFi?

HIV doesn't only enter through the butt hole.
posted by CKmtl at 11:49 AM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


In short, as that abstract that I posted points out: it is not an idle threat to children to leave them unvaccinated against Measles. At least once every ten years, someone comes back from another country with Measles. In 2005, someone came back to a whole community of people that figured that the science was shaky and that "everybody else is vaccinating their children, so I don't need to." What happened? A whole bunch of those kids whose parents relied on the vaccinations of others got very, very sick and could have lost their lives if the science and medicine surrounding Measles wasn't so good.

The lesson, I think, is that if you rely on the vaccination of other peoples' children to protect your own, you are putting the lives of your own children on the line. All due respect to those who rail against Balisong for threatening their lives, but vaccination in the United States being as widespread as it is, Balisong is chiefly taking a risk with his own children. I respect his own decision to do so, and I don't think it's productive to spend time accusing him of putting others at risk, though he might be doing so. It makes more sense to approach this as a friend trying to convince someone to do something that is quite clearly in their own best interest; I don't believe Balisong wants to lose a child, and I'd rather he didn't have to.

The threat is more real than people realize. Did you know that Measles is considered endemic to England and Wales? There were 1,217 cases there in the last year! They're worried, as that link states, that this will turn into an epidemic, and it's already caused real problems in other countries in Europe. This isn't something that only happens in Africa or Asia; it's close to home. The MMR vaccine is vital for children.

Brief version: if you don't get your kid MMR vaccinated, you'd probably better live in a town full of people who never travel abroad; otherwise, you're putting your kid's head on the chopping block.

I don't say that as an enemy, Balisong, but as a friend. There are some vaccines that are clearly bunk, and there are many medications that are "approved" that turn out to be dangerous. The MMR vaccine has been in use for almost 40 years, it's saved more than 1.4 million lives in the last ten years alone, and - most importantly - it's the only thing that separates us in the United States from the very real threats of an epidemic that parents have to worry about in Europe. I don't want anybody to die - on the contrary, it'd be nice if MMR could save more lives.
posted by koeselitz at 11:53 AM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


Not to throw a monkey wrench in the works here, but a question, please? Is it true that, compared to say, 1975...

(when yours truly was getting the first of who knows how many vaccination jabs at her -- unrelated, but how many times do you get to say this? -- soon-to-be-decapitated pediatrician's office)

...the schedule of vaccinations has been compressed so that children not only get more vaccs but get them sooner than they used to? I wouldn't call myself a vaccination skeptic, although I am not terribly trustful of the medical establishment as a whole, thanks to my past experiences within it. And so I can see the point of people who have said there are more vaccs being given to children within a more compressed now than 30+ years ago...is it really wise to do that? What are the benefits of doing more of them all at once and sooner?

What's the harm in spacing them out more if it makes an anti-vaccine parent more comfortable with the overall concept of getting vaccinations, period? (The reasoning I've heard employed here is that having them more spaced out and say, not putting 8 different vaccs in one shot, makes it easier to identify possible allergies or problems caused by a specific vaccine).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:01 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread reminds me of those depressing conversations that I am cornered into every four years with my Libertarian-leaning friends who don't believe that they should vote at all, for the stated excuse that “their conscience” cannot abide “checking a box for either Republican or Democrat” (no matter how different the “big picture” cost and consequence differential). I find it extraordinary how those of such delicate sensibilities can stomach—nay, crave—the need for an audience to witness and appreciate the full passion of their ambivalence!
posted by applemeat at 12:10 PM on February 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


bitter-girl.com, there's some info here, under Simultaneous Administration. The reason they do it that way is that parents don't always come back, so if you can do all the vaccines at once, that's the best way to ensure that kids get vaccinated. That page cites some studies on why it's safe.
posted by smackfu at 12:14 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why specifically unprotected anal sex? Is this some sort of GRID throwback? Or an allusion to some sort of gay bias on MeFi?

HIV doesn't only enter through the butt hole.


I'm not the person who posted that comment, but probably because anal sex is at least ten times as risky as vaginal sex and a hundred times as risky as oral sex.
posted by Justinian at 12:15 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


We are all gonna die. It's simply a fact.
posted by tkchrist at 12:22 PM on February 16, 2009


applemeat, I'm curious... do these friends of yours spontaneously tell you "Conscience once again demands that I not vote, amirite?"

If not, maybe you're not quite as "cornered" as you feared.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:22 PM on February 16, 2009


Thank you for that link, smackfu. I skimmed it; will read in more detail later. If parental compliance is a major component, though (taking aside the other factors named there), is there actually any HARM in allowing parents to space them out if they are planning to comply otherwise?

So (numbers pulled out of the air here), if there are 24 vaccs kids need to have before their 2nd bday, and parents would rather (I can't imagine this, given a hectic schedule like mine, but whatevs) come in every 2 weeks to get them all done instead of 4 here, 8 there, etc... and it will ensure that more of the semi-anti-vacc people get their children vaccinated........ what's the harm?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:29 PM on February 16, 2009


I came here to say what rjs said. This callout is utter bullshit: you jumped into that thread with a big I HATE VACCINATION AND DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT, NOW KICK ME YOU FUCKERS! sign and then came here to whine that people were kicking you. Look, you have a constitutional right to think and say whatever you like, and you can certainly come here and tell us all about it, but you don't have a right to be treated with kid gloves when you spew anti-scientific nonsense that puts lives at risk. And yeah, everybody dies. Is that what you'd say if someone went around blowing people away on your block?
posted by languagehat at 12:29 PM on February 16, 2009 [34 favorites]


We are all gonna die. It's simply a fact.

Citation, please!
posted by electroboy at 12:37 PM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


is there actually any HARM in allowing parents to space them out if they are planning to comply otherwise?

The link you posted earlier specifically addresses why you should vaccinate your children as soon as possible.
Vaccines are recommended for very young children because their immune systems are not yet fully mature and also because their stomachs produce less acid, making it easier for ingested bacteria and viruses to multiply. These factors leave them the most vulnerable to the devastating effects of these serious diseases.

posted by electroboy at 12:39 PM on February 16, 2009


Citation, please!

Ha, well put, electroboy! Perhaps we can call it the "caddis defense."

Person A: We are all going to live forever!

Person B: No, that's stupid, we are all gonna die. It's simply a fact.

Person A: Just because there was not enough evidence to establish it as truth does not mean that it is false.
posted by billysumday at 12:41 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


He's right! The fact that everyone in history has died is not proof that everyone dies, only that everyone so far has died.
posted by Justinian at 12:43 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


applemeat, I'm curious... do these friends of yours spontaneously tell you "Conscience once again demands that I not vote, amirite?"

If not, maybe you're not quite as "cornered" as you feared.


Joe Beese, I know better than to bring up politics with my few (but generally very interesting) libertarian friends. So yes, in my experience, these friends have wanted to talk (and talk) about their ambivalence and the justifications for their ambivilence. ...Rather than just, say, shutting up and not voting. (Nitpick/Also, these encounters do not scare me, they depress me.)
posted by applemeat at 12:45 PM on February 16, 2009


koeselitz, that was excellent, thank you. I don't have kids yet, but I hope to in the next couple of years - and like many people my age, have heard all the rumors about the dangers of vaccination. Your comment is the sort that provokes serious and rational thought, far better than the hordes of "OMG ur putting everyone else at risk give them the shot NAOW!"
posted by HopperFan at 12:49 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by Balisong Being born is a death sentence.

I smell a screenplay!

Charles Bronson in Death Wish VI: The Maternity Ward!
Slogan/catchprase: "Being born is a death sentence. I'm just gettin' rid of the appeals process."
posted by mattdidthat at 12:49 PM on February 16, 2009 [20 favorites]


yes, in my experience, these friends have wanted to talk (and talk) about their ambivalence

That's a drag. I guess all you can say is "You gotta do what you gotta do. Say, how 'bout those [insert name of local sports franchise]?"
posted by Joe Beese at 12:52 PM on February 16, 2009


He's right! The fact that everyone in history has died is not proof that everyone dies, only that everyone so far has died.

I remember reading an interview with Dick Gregory, who was espousing the benefits of "breathatarianism". The choice quote from the interview was this:
"I personally believe breathatarianism to be the highest mode of human living breathing in pure air, absorbing the direct light and energies of the sun, bathing in pure water. I look at the obituaries every morning and ain't nobody listed but you eaters."
You have to appreciate crazy on that level.
posted by electroboy at 12:52 PM on February 16, 2009


Who funds scientific research? Why is it almost always the major corporations that have something to gain from a particular outcome?

Do you have a citation for this? I believe that the federal government funds most scientific research in the US and this page agrees with me. According to it, the Feds fund roughly 2/3 of academic research. You may be confusing corporate R&D with scientific research, in which case you might be confusing what type of research we are talking about when we address the case for things like vaccination benefits and risks.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:53 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, if I recall correctly, drug companies aren't especially interested in producing vaccines, because they're all off patent and don't really make much money. Your various Cialises and Viagras are what really pays the bills. Think about that the next time you mock the latest and greatest boner pill.
posted by electroboy at 12:58 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Many people who put themselves on the "pro-science" side of debates about vaccine safety resort very quickly to name-calling and frothing at the mouth, with no apparent sense of irony. This disturbs me.

I do physics for a living, and I frequently have to address the question of whether some hinted-at correlation is real or just noise. Those sorts of arguments are never settled by someone announcing "GODDAMMIT, IT'S NOT REAL, YOU IDIOTS." The conclusion is much more nuanced: "If there's anything, it's too small to see with any of the machines we know how to build, so we can safely forget about it."

I would like to see this argument in the vaccine safety debate: even if you give the anti-vaccine people the benefit of the doubt, they're still better off vaccinating. I didn't find this anywhere. I tried doing it myself, and I got the "wrong" answer. One big study (the "every child in Denmark for a decade" study) seems to conclude that at least 90% or 95% of autism diagnoses would have happened whether MMR existed or not. But measles, mumps, and rubella are extraordinarily rare in the US. (Rubella is gone; mumps was predicted to disappear by 2010, but a 2006 outbreak may have changed that.) A parent like Balisong wants to reduce his risk of a lifetime of caring for an autistic child by 5% (or maybe 1%, or maybe not at all) at the cost of a tripled-but-still-small risk of an old childhood disease. I expected this tradeoff to be unreasonable. It's not clear to me that it is. I'd love to see a counterargument.

Public health is a thorny problem with lots of tradeoffs. Vitriol doesn't make it any easier.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 12:58 PM on February 16, 2009 [13 favorites]


Balisong, I notice in your profile that you are a knife and gun collector. Do you keep these items out of reach of your children, or do you leave various guns and knives laying around the house, since your children are going to die eventually anyway?
posted by theroadahead at 1:02 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Of course we're all going to die. But we don't have public health programs to prevent death. We have them to delay it; to prevent epidemics; to minimize suffering and complications; and to allow people to live the best possible quality of life for as long as possible. Saying that death is inevitable is the most ridiculous justification for refusing effective public health requirements imaginable. There's no slipperier slope. Ok, we're all dust, and to dust shall we return - so tear out all the stop signs, stop making seat belts in cars, forget that water testing for your tap water, don't worry about inspecting schools or houses for lead and asbestos, throw out those cumbersome OSHA workplace-safety standards....we're all headed for the big chill sooner or later anyway, so let's not manage risk at all, and so what if ya take a bunch of people with you unecessarily when you go!

Parents don't have unlimited rights to decide what to do with their kids. They can't abuse their kids, and they can't use their kids to hurt others. The state has an interest in kids, and some control over them, as family law makes quite clear. The freedoms of parents to make decisions about their children and their children's health are limited, and that's in the best interest of the majority. If no law prevents you avoiding vaccination for your kid, so be it - but I support the laws, and also have no problem with schools, camps, and other public places where kids meet and mingle barring kids flat-out who have no vaccination. Since there are mandatory education laws, that will require homeschooling for some who refuse to participate. But those kids need to be isolated from everyone else, and it's certainly within the power of the law to enforce it. So for those who are pro-vaccination, I wouldn't waste all that much time arguing with dowsers and Lamarckians, but spend more time looking at your local institutions and state policies that determine whether parents can send their kids to school or camp without vaccinations.
posted by Miko at 1:08 PM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


A parent like Balisong wants to reduce his risk of a lifetime of caring for an autistic child by 5% (or maybe 1%, or maybe not at all)

Not at all, but there there are other rare adverse reactions to vaccines.

at the cost of a tripled-but-still-small risk of an old childhood disease. I expected this tradeoff to be unreasonable. It's not clear to me that it is. I'd love to see a counterargument.

Counterargument:

The tradeoff is not just about balisong's kids. It is also about some number of people with medical contraindications for the vaccine who never had them. It is also about an unknown number of people for whom the vaccine failed. It is also about an unknown number of people whose vaccines succeeded, but long enough ago that they no longer have full immunity. It is also about unknown future populations who, if we succeed in eradicating a disease now, will have no risk of the disease and will not need to bear the very slight risk of vaccines against the disease.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:13 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


This thread reminds me of those depressing conversations that I am cornered into every four years with my Libertarian-leaning friends who don't believe that they should vote at all, for the stated excuse that “their conscience” cannot abide “checking a box for either Republican or Democrat”

Can't abide checking the box for Libertarian either, LOL.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 1:13 PM on February 16, 2009


... the schedule of vaccinations has been compressed so that children not only get more vaccs but get them sooner than they used to ... And so I can see the point of people who have said there are more vaccs being given to children within a more compressed now than 30+ years ago...is it really wise to do that? What are the benefits of doing more of them all at once and sooner?

What's the harm in spacing them out more if it makes an anti-vaccine parent more comfortable with the overall concept of getting vaccinations, period?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:01 PM on February 16


There probably isn't any physical harm provided that there isn't a substantial delay.

However, what would happen if large numbers of parents decided that for every visit where their child got 4 shots (say, for example, a 6 month well-child care visit where kids get Hepatitis B #3 (1 shot/1 disease), DTaP #3 (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis; 1 shot/3 diseases), Prevnar #3 (1 shot/1 disease), and inactivated polio virus #3 (1 shot/1 disease)), they wanted their child to only get 1 type of antigen at a time? That'd mean that the child would have to get 1 separate shot on each of 6 separate visits. That translates into (and please indulge me by extrapolating this scenario to the 4 million plus children born each year in the US):

  • Additional trauma for the child (getting a weekly shot is no fun).
  • Poor use of finite healthcare resources (nurse/doctor/clinic time).
  • Scheduling nightmare for the parent (assume 30 minutes travel time each way with small child, 20 minutes registration/wait time, 10 minute shot time = 90 minutes out of a work day x 5 extra visits = 7.5 hours = one full workday = lost productivity/income).
  • Oh, and you're taking your 6 month old into a doctors office filled with lots of sick children five extra times.
  • Think about how long it takes your child to get a well-child care visit at the local pediatrician's office at present. What would that be like if everyone wanted 5-6 immunization visits for each one currently in the schedule?

    Also, vaccines are money-losers for most pediatricians as what insurance reimburses tends to be less than the actual administration cost (liability insurance, nurse/doctor time, buying vaccine stock ahead of time, proper storage, documentation, reminders, etc.). Add enough extra poorly-reimbursed visits and on a large scale you'll push a lot of pediatric practices in large areas over the cliff.

    Finally, and something that most people don't realize: in terms of the number of antigens (foreign proteins) that childrens immune systems are exposed to in the current vaccination schedule -- that number pales in comparison to what kids got 50 years ago. This is mainly due to the switchover from the old whole-cell pertussis vaccine to acellular vaccine, which started back in 1991. The actual number of foreign proteins that the immune system sees as a result of modern vaccine technology is at least 10-fold less since you're not just grinding up pathogens and injecting them, but rather relying upon more recombinant proteins and purified immunogenic antigens.

    So as far as I'm concerned, this business about "overstimulation of the immune system" leading to auto-immune diseases and behavioral problems doesn't hold a lot of water. If the overstimulation hypothesis was true, we should expect to see a lower incidence of supposedly "vaccine-associated" autoimmune diseases than 50 years ago (even 20 years ago) when antigen content was higher (and, incidentally, when compliance rates were probably higher as well, since people remembered what happened when you got measles, polio, whooping cough, and other nasty diseases). Paul Offit's 2003 paper entitled, "Addressing Parents' Concerns: Do Vaccines Cause Allergic or Autoimmune Diseases?" does a great job covering this topic.

  • posted by scblackman at 1:15 PM on February 16, 2009 [37 favorites]


    A parent like Balisong wants to reduce his risk of a lifetime of caring for an autistic child by 5% (or maybe 1%, or maybe not at all) at the cost of a tripled-but-still-small risk of an old childhood disease.

    No, he wants to reduce his risk of a lifetime of caring for an autistic child by increasing others' . You're right that public health is full of tradeoffs, but if you're looking only at the one child's risks, you're not practicing public health. The reason we have mandatory vaccination is that it reduces risks in the aggregate, removing the power of contagious illnesses to spread through epidemic. It doesn't matter whether these diseases are extinct in the US - as pointed out above, they can arrive through travellers, and sweep through an unprotected population, so you can't extrapolate from today's risk of contracting the MMR diseases that the level of risk will always be the same. The MMR diseases have nearly been eradicated here because of the vaccines, because hosts are few and outbreaks isolated. Take away the vaccines completely, and the numbers won't just triple - over time they'd reach 1900 proportions, quite likely.
    posted by Miko at 1:15 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


    "We are all gonna die. It's simply a fact."

    Citation, please!


    Here you go.
    posted by BigSky at 1:17 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    The link you posted earlier specifically addresses why you should vaccinate your children as soon as possible.

    Yes, electroboy, I saw that. But my question is maybe a little more nuanced -- if the choice is between

    a. a parent who won't vaccinate because they're uncomfortable with vaccines for (insert reason here) or

    b. a parent who's uncomfortable with vaccines but WILL vaccinate if they are given some measure of control or at least feel as if their concerns are being acknowledged...

    ...what's the harm in allowing for "b" if, in the end, the child is vaccinated (with all the attending benefits-for-us-all in place, ultimately)? If either way, the child has everything done by age X, isn't it better for them to have had them done on an altered schedule than not at all?
    posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:19 PM on February 16, 2009


    Balisong, as the person who started the thread in question, you really left me scratching my head. I could not for the life of me figure out if you were trolling. And not because you're against vaccinating your children, but because you take what seems to be a pretty absurd position on it.

    You said you believe the "herd immunity" will protect your children from getting sick. OK. Apart from how logisitically impossible it would be to be certain your children are always surrounded by fully healthy and vaccinated individuals at all times, there's also this: you go on to say "I am not convinced that those risks outweigh the potential benefit, when that benefit is not certain."

    Huh? Which is it then? Do you believe vaccines work (and can protect your kids via proxy) or not?

    This is what led me to think you're probably just deliberately trolling. I refuse to believe someone would actually be putting their own flesh and blood or others at risk of serious illness or even death based on such flimsy logic. That you later added "If my kids get sick we'll deal with it then" and "well, it was my wife's idea, and I pretty much do whatever she tells me to" underlines one great big question mark about your motives here.

    If you're not being sincere, stop this now. If you are being sincere, then I strongly recommend you reflect more seriously on your priorities in this situation, with regards to your own kids and others around you.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:24 PM on February 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


    ...start looking into buying a tiny coffin.

    Now I have no idea as to the legality of using wicker or cardboard, but seems like a decent option. Biodegradable, and shows how much you cared about the little tike while it was still alive. They're only available in bulk in the last link, which again, seems appropriate.

    coffin case mod
    posted by cjorgensen at 1:28 PM on February 16, 2009


    I am allergic to the MMR vaccine. When I got a booster pre-kindergarten, my shoulder swelled up to the size of a baseball (imagine this on a little kid) and I vomited for a week. The only booster I did not get was the final one between 5th and 6th grade. I hope that people realize that not everyone avoids vaccines by choice. My doctor actually advised against me getting that final MMR booster.
    posted by IndigoRain at 1:40 PM on February 16, 2009


    Thank you, scblackman... this is not something I knew:

    Finally, and something that most people don't realize: in terms of the number of antigens (foreign proteins) that childrens immune systems are exposed to in the current vaccination schedule -- that number pales in comparison to what kids got 50 years ago. This is mainly due to the switchover from the old whole-cell pertussis vaccine to acellular vaccine, which started back in 1991. The actual number of foreign proteins that the immune system sees as a result of modern vaccine technology is at least 10-fold less since you're not just grinding up pathogens and injecting them, but rather relying upon more recombinant proteins and purified immunogenic antigens.

    And I suspect most people (even those who consider themselves reasonably well-informed) don't know it either.
    posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:40 PM on February 16, 2009


    what's the harm in allowing for "b" if, in the end, the child is vaccinated (with all the attending benefits-for-us-all in place, ultimately

    There's not much nuance about it. There's a higher risk of contracting a disease the longer you withhold vaccinations. What that risk is, I don't know, probably pretty small, depending on where you live. What's the benefit of waiting? In terms of quantifiable benefits, probably zero. So, some risk vs zero benefit. That also assumes that they do indeed return for more vaccinations, rather than deciding the first round was enough.
    posted by electroboy at 1:42 PM on February 16, 2009


    Wait, what was this about a decapitated doctor?

    Is there some Darwin Award-worthy story related to this, or is it something even more tragic than this whole discussion about babies and deadly diseases?
    posted by Ms. Saint at 1:46 PM on February 16, 2009


    We are all gonna die. It's simply a fact.

    another fact is, we have some choices in the world and we can make our lives somewhat better and somewhat worse. If we're all gonna die, we may as well just go pull a Jonestown right now, right? Except that, it is different to die at the end of a long and fulfilling life, and to die a tragic death from an illness that causes a severe physical suffering, before you have had a chance to experience many of the joys of life.

    It's fine to go all buddhist about your own situation - if you don't mind dying young and going through a lot of pain in the process, or allowing the same to happen to your children, ok. (Of course, if your children are going to die at some point anyway, then if they suffer some severe reaction to the vaccination, you can handle it, too.) But why make the same decision for others?

    As was pointed out earlier, vaccinations aren't 100% effective. They're highly effective, so if everyone has them, there's very little chance for the disease to get around. But if some percentage of people aren't vaccinated, then even those who are are put at a higher risk, since the disease has more room to thrive (and possibly even become stronger or mutate). It just gives the diseases space to get around - possibly harming or killing your children in the process, but they'd die anyway, so... - but you're still giving the disease a habitable environment.
    posted by mdn at 1:46 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    I am allergic to the MMR vaccine. [...] I hope that people realize that not everyone avoids vaccines by choice.
    posted by IndigoRain at 2:40 PM on February 16 [+] [!]


    No worries, I think most people get that. You would fall into that category of "people who can't get vaccinated" - people who specifically rely on the rest of us getting vaccinated in order to safeguard their (your) health.
    posted by arcticwoman at 1:58 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Saying that death is inevitable is the most ridiculous justification for refusing effective public health requirements imaginable.

    You're right. But it's a way for telling some guy who started a metatalk thread that he's being hysterical. His main complaint was people telling him his kids are gonna die. Duh. It's a given. Right?

    He can't have it both ways.
    posted by tkchrist at 1:58 PM on February 16, 2009


    ROU_Xenophobe, Miko, those are reasons that other people would benefit from Balisong's decision to vaccinate (good, valid reasons with which I personally agree). For him personally, the risks of rare side effects (whether "confirmed" or not) made vaccination a bad deal. That was what I expected to disagree with, and didn't.

    When childhood diseases were endemic, even a self-centered hermit was better off getting the jab. Now the childhood diseases are nearly gone, and the selfish people have come out of the woodwork and said, "My children don't get much benefit from vaccinating, so I won't do that to them." If this argument is specious (which I suspect it is), it should be addressed head on.

    "Don't be selfish" sounds great, but it doesn't work as public policy. "Don't be selfish, you selfish turd" doesn't even sound so great.
    posted by fantabulous timewaster at 2:01 PM on February 16, 2009


    His main complaint was people telling him his kids are gonna die.

    No, his main complaint was a guy telling him that he HOPED his kids DID die. There's a big horkin' difference, there.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:02 PM on February 16, 2009


    posted by EmpressCallipygos his main complaint was a guy telling him that he HOPED his kids DID die.

    Balisong has no reason to complain. He told us being born is a death sentence. So it all works out.
    posted by mattdidthat at 2:11 PM on February 16, 2009


    "Don't be selfish" sounds great, but it doesn't work as public policy.

    Sure it does, if we mandate it legally. Isn't "don't be selfish" the entire basis of our system of progressive taxation? We (mostly) believe a public good is served by requiring people to pay taxes. Similarly, if we believe a public good is served by requiring people to vaccinate their children than "don't be selfish" works quite well sa public policy. As long as we enforce it.
    posted by Justinian at 2:13 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


    This discussion made me think of this video by Thunderfoot. It always brings tears to my eyes when I watch it.
    posted by nola at 2:22 PM on February 16, 2009


    I expected this tradeoff to be unreasonable. It's not clear to me that it is. I'd love to see a counterargument.

    Public health is a thorny problem with lots of tradeoffs. Vitriol doesn't make it any easier.


    A very slippery slope you've started down. The same analysis can be applied to, say, drinking milk and autism, or having blue eyes and autism. No matter the size of the study, there is some small effect that can't be rejected. So now you have to tolerate just about any action driven by a hare-brained theory regarding the cause of autism, because most of the studies haven't been done and so the plus-or-minus thingy (we call it a standard error) is very big.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 2:33 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    My 9-month old daughter WILL die - any day now - of brain cancer (making her one of those who can't be vaccinated).

    If I could have done ANYTHING, I mean ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING to prevent this, I would have. No question. No conspiracy theory. ANYTHING I could have done. PLEASE, anti-vax people, I can tell you it is a miserable way to feel even when I could NOT have prevented it (it's a genetic mutation, for her). PLEASE do not subject yourself to the bone-deep sadness, remorse and regret that you would feel.

    ANYTHING. There is NO STEP I would not take to save her life, humanely.
    posted by bunnycup at 2:37 PM on February 16, 2009 [44 favorites]


    fantabulous timewaster, "now [that] the childhood diseases are nearly gone" is exactly the problem.

    They won't *be* gone or even nearly gone if the number of selfish people like Balisong increase (selfish in the sense that lupus_yonderboy used it in the original thread, that is, selfish because he's asking other parents to take on the risk for his children and not giving anything back in return).

    I'm from San Diego, and thus Balisong's arguments tend to make me very, very steamed. There isn't a herd immunity in SD, not the way it is elsewhere, and it's partially because of people like him. No, not all childhood diseases are running rampant in San Diego, but quite frankly, some are. San Diego is a victim of circumstances, a border town with a large variety of people who refuse to vaccinate for any number of reasons.

    What I worry about is simply this: when Balisong teaches his kid not to vaccinate their kid, and so on and so forth unto the twentieth generation, then more cities will be vulnerable like San Diego. Actually, I worry about cities turning into northern Nigeria more than San Diego.
    posted by librarylis at 2:41 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


    bunnycup, I am so sorry. It's not much, but you and yours are in my thoughts.
    posted by sugarfish at 2:56 PM on February 16, 2009


    As one of many, many people in our country taking immunosuppressive drugs to control a medical condition I just want to say that I would prefer not to catch whooping cough from somebody's unvaccinated kid.
    posted by hydropsyche at 3:09 PM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


    If this argument is specious (which I suspect it is), it should be addressed head on.

    It is, in that if it's logical for one person to do it, and yet many people use that logic, all benefit is lost and only risk is retained. He's claiming a right to make a choice he'd have to necessarily deny to others if he wants to retain the benefit of the choice.
    posted by Miko at 3:12 PM on February 16, 2009 [18 favorites]


    He's claiming a right to make a choice he'd have to necessarily deny to others if he wants to retain the benefit of the choice.

    Keeping in solid alignment with modern libertarianism.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:16 PM on February 16, 2009 [17 favorites]


    Citation please

    "Well now everything dies, baby that's a fact"
    Citation
    posted by gingerbeer at 3:17 PM on February 16, 2009


    By the way, apropos of my previous comment, please let me add that the cancer my daughter has is incredibly rare - something like 30 cases diagnosed annually, mostly in infants. So arguments about the relative rarity of polio or other communicable diseases are unpersuasive.
    posted by bunnycup at 3:28 PM on February 16, 2009


    {{{Bunnycup}}}

    I'm so, so, so damn sorry to hear about what's happening to your daughter.
    posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:36 PM on February 16, 2009


    Wow, I wasn't going to jump into this mess until I saw that Balisong hasn't brought his kids to the doctor in three years.

    Pack up the wagons, folks. This one's a lost cause. Vaccines are the least of the problems when the kids haven't even been to a doctor. Ever. I have a healthy skepticism about the "doctors on pedestals" attitude in Western culture (and especially in the US), but I also truly believe that the reason we aren't all having five kids because three of them will die during childhood is entirely due to advances in modern medicine.

    The only reason these kids haven't been seriously ill in their lives is luck.

    PS: I'm allergic to the DPT vaccine and I'd really appreciate if everyone else would get it so that my chances of getting pertussis remain nill. Whooping cough isn't on my list of "things to do."

    PPS: While it doesn't really matter if the kids have the vaccines now, from a legal standpoint, if they want to go to college they'll have to show documentation that they've had vaccines and if there is no documentation, then they HAVE to do it. At that point, it won't be the parents' decision: the kids will be 18 and it'll be the choice between "measles shot" and "not starting classes." Same for immigrating to and in some cases, visiting foreign countries. Ditto working in any health-care related field. Ditto working in childcare. There are numerous situations where not being vaccinated is NOT an option.

    I know all of these to be true facts and not allegations as these are all situations where I personally have been required to provide proof that I am up to date with MMR, DPT (which I can't get, as mentioned), Tetanus, and HepB vaccines.

    PPPS: I have one word for you, if you doubt the efficacy of vaccines: Smallpox.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:37 PM on February 16, 2009 [13 favorites]


    the cancer my daughter has is incredibly rare - something like 30 cases diagnosed annually, mostly in infants.

    I'm so terribly sorry. I hope you find your way through this.
    posted by Wolof at 3:37 PM on February 16, 2009


    Justinian: I'm not the person who posted that comment, but probably because anal sex is at least ten times as risky as vaginal sex and a hundred times as risky as oral sex.

    Perhaps, but it's not like unprotected vaginal sex is an altogether safe thing, even if it is N-times less risky.

    So, I took Balisong's specifying as either downplaying the risk of unprotected vaginal sex, or as implying that there's some sort of "Leave Teh Gheys ALONE!" [/running mascara] coddling vibe here. The former would be a stupid thing to do and the latter a stupid thing to say.

    There's this blog out there (I won't link to it, as I don't think it deserves a boost in traffic) detailing the adventures of an unrepentant and supposedly prolific bareback top. In his search for bottoms, he hooks up with guys online. On said sites, he falsely claims to "always use protection" and seeks out guys who describe themselves similarly. He then tries to cajole them into barebacking. If the cajoling doesn't work, he either sabotages the condom or covertly pulls it off mid-coitus. For the sake of my sanity, I choose to believe it's all part of someone's elaborate masturbatory fantasy.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that if that blog were posted on the Blue, the majority response would be an outpouring of invective, not something along the lines of "We must respect this person's sexual freedom and their right to willingly act as a vector." Ditto for its hypothetical straight-female clone, even if the risk of transmission is lower.
    posted by CKmtl at 3:41 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Citation please

    "Well now everything dies, baby that's a fact"


    "But maybe everything that dies someday comes back"

    Check your sources!
    posted by Roman Graves at 3:59 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


    It's fine to go all buddhist about your own situation

    fyi, Balisong's position is completely unsupported by Buddhism. The whole point of Buddhism is to relieve suffering.
    posted by desjardins at 4:02 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    librarylis, You really don't have to worry about long family histories of non-vaccination... Natural selection will probably take care of it.
    Mumps, for instance, can make males sterile.
    But seriously, once the first kid comes down with measels, or whooping cough, we'll see how long the family stays unvaccinated. Watching me in the hospital, age 2, struggling to breathe, probably made my mom re-think her decision to leave me unvaccinated for pertussis. Both my subsequent siblings were vaccinated unquestioningly. Because the vaccine at the time (1980) did have a small risk of complications, she didn't want to risk her precious first-born getting brain damaged. She adjudged that risk more dire than the risk of getting pertussis. Of course, I got the Whooping Cough, was very sick for over a month and ended up in the hospital. No brain damage, but instead I had 20 years of chronic bronchitis.
    posted by Cold Lurkey at 4:08 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Mental Wimp, it's not that slippery to worry about harebrained ideas that make it past peer review at the Lancet, twice. Though maybe it's a reason to look askance at results published in the Lancet.

    Miko, librarylis: If the overall rate of vaccinations went down, the number of infections would go up, and the vaccinate-or-not logic would be different. If there were five hundred measles infections in the US every year, instead of about fifty, there'd be no ambiguity: you'd come out ahead vaccinating whether a smaller-than-the-upper-limit autism link was there or not. There aren't -- not yet, at least. It may be that the outbreaks in the past few years will spook people enough to keep vaccination rates from slipping further.

    These childhood diseases have been coevolving with people for a very long time. From the invention of the smallpox vaccine to the extinction of endemic smallpox was about 180 years. The vaccines in the MMR are less than fifty years old. I'd love for those diseases to die off, too; but I'm willing to accept that dealing with the people factor may take some tricks that haven't been invented yet.
    posted by fantabulous timewaster at 4:10 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Here we go with my two cents, Balisong.

    I love my baby. He's an awesome little guy. I hope he continues to be awesome as he grows up.
    He's fully vaccinated because I believe in taking individual responsibility for the 'herd immunity' you shelter behind.

    Did I mention how much I love my baby?

    But if I could look ahead and know that I was raising a selfish, cowardly, dishonourable person who would refuse to take a small risk for the greater good, well ....

    I'd stake him out on a hillside in a heartbeat.
    posted by Catch at 4:14 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Oh God, bunnycup, I'm so sorry.
    posted by lysistrata at 4:15 PM on February 16, 2009


    That was an uncomfortable juxtaposition.
    posted by found missing at 4:18 PM on February 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


    Do what you want to your body, but don't infringe on others.

    I agree. Vaccinate your kids if you want, don't vaccinate them if you don't want. If you don't want your kid anywhere near an unvaccinated child, ever, feel free to move to a totalitarian nation that mandates and enforces childhood vaccination for all residents and visitors and stay there. Or write to your elected representative and try to get the laws changed.

    Personally, I agree that vaccinating your children is the right thing to do. But I question all you benevolent dictators out there hoping infringe upon the lawful rights of others.

    Moooooo.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 4:31 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Fuck this is a long thread. Anyway, not vaccinating your children against diseases they cured years ago if fucking stupid. And it does effect everyone. I don't think you really understand how this whole herd immunity thing works.
    posted by chunking express at 4:33 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Great stuff fantabulous timewaster! But.. This seems unlikely:
    A "triggered" autism diagnosis wouldn't present the same sort of straightforward danger. But autism is difficult. A very large fraction of autistic-spectrum children will require heroic care from their parents for their entire lives.
    I thought autism-spectrum diagnoses were becoming more common but on average much less spectacular, what with all the "Bill Gates == Aspergers" type ideas which have been permeating the culture since Rain Man.

    More realistically, 1 in 500 seems to be the maximum for actual autism, and even that covers a pretty broad range of effects. Given that, a pro vaccination conclusion seems pretty obvious.


    dios: It occurs to me that from a legal perspective, I could use the same legal arguments to get an order over-riding a parent's refusal based on the arguments made by Balisong.

    Obviously not. There is a massive gulf between "this child needs this treatment or, in all reasonable medical probability, the child will suffer." and the small (but certainly significant--that isn't the point here) possibility of harm that is the result of skipping vaccination.
    posted by Chuckles at 4:37 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Mooooo? Seriously?

    Folks here are cattle because they are getting seriously pissed off that anti-vaccination morons are selfishly and irrationally endangering both their own children and others?

    Really?

    Fine. Mooooo. I hope you step deeply in one of my patties.
    posted by John Smallberries at 4:39 PM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


    McGuillicuddy, how do you feel about parents that don't let their children get proper medical care because they are religious or crazy or both? Because honestly, not giving your kids a polio vaccine because you think the government is trying to get you is basically just as stupid and or ridiculous, and probably isn't in the best interests of the child.
    posted by chunking express at 4:41 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]



    Do what you want to your body, but don't infringe on others.

    The problem with this, is that the children can't decide. I DO think parents have a lot of leeway to make life decisions for their children, but I can't endorse parents' irresponsible decisions.

    For example, there have been stories of parents who choose to feed their child on such an extreme vegan, raw diet that the child starved to death under their care. They were guilty of child neglect, and in my opinion should have been convicted on manslaughter or negligent homicide as well. Now, feeding an extreme diet is an even MORE personal decision than vaccination, affects others less, but it still feels NOT RIGHT. I am pretty sure we can all agree on that.

    So why is it okay to choose, AGAINST vastly dominant medical advice, to endanger one's own and other children in a much wider way by not vaccinating? I am asking as an honest, not just rhetorical, question. Where do we draw the line on parents making choices that endanger their children, and especially other children too?
    posted by bunnycup at 4:42 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


    I want to live in a free nation where I can give my children loaded handguns and send them out into the playground.

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE. OUR RIGHTS ARE BEING TAKEN FROM US.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 4:43 PM on February 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


    (Please let me clarify, I mean feeding an extreme diet to the point that there is clear injury or danger to the child's life or wellbeing. Personally, I feel the spectre of the many awful diseases that vaccines prevent - particularly in a global world - to be "clear" danger, but I realize some may disagree.)
    posted by bunnycup at 4:45 PM on February 16, 2009


    how do you feel about parents that don't let their children get proper medical care because they are religious or crazy or both?

    If they are endangering the health and safety of their children, there are laws against it. If they are simply following a religious or philosophical lifestyle to which I do not ascribe, I keep my own counsel with any judgements that I may have.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 4:46 PM on February 16, 2009


    fyi, Balisong's position is completely unsupported by Buddhism. The whole point of Buddhism is to relieve suffering.

    apologies, didn't mean to imply anything there... maybe i should have just said, "go all philosophical about your own situation"... (it's fine to take the long view that death is inevitable, but that isn't how everyone is always going to deal with actual death!)
    posted by mdn at 4:47 PM on February 16, 2009


    WAKE UP SHEEPLE. OUR RIGHTS ARE BEING TAKEN FROM US.

    Mooooo! Dammit, moooooo!
    posted by jerseygirl at 4:49 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Oh, that's all we need, zombies with guns. And they're probably not vaccinated, either, so when they eat our brains, we'll get rickets or something.
    posted by dirigibleman at 4:49 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Metafilter: Mooooo! Dammit, moooooo!

    (?) (yes? or no?)
    posted by bunnycup at 4:59 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    WAKE UP SHEEPLE. OUR RIGHTS ARE BEING TAKEN FROM US.

    Mooooo! Dammit, moooooo!


    You exhibit evidence of a cognitive impairment.
    posted by CKmtl at 5:00 PM on February 16, 2009


    so when they eat our brains, we'll get rickets or something.

    BSE.
    posted by fixedgear at 5:01 PM on February 16, 2009


    What I worry about is simply this: when Balisong teaches his kid not to vaccinate their kid, and so on and so forth unto the twentieth generation, then more cities will be vulnerable like San Diego

    I doubt they'll make it 20 generations.
    posted by empath at 5:03 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    You exhibit evidence of a cognitive impairment.

    But I'm fully vaccinated!
    posted by jerseygirl at 5:07 PM on February 16, 2009


    Moooooo.

    Oh god, that's hilarious! Thanks for that - I needed a laugh.
    posted by rtha at 5:08 PM on February 16, 2009


    More realistically, 1 in 500 seems to be the maximum for actual autism, and even that covers a pretty broad range of effects. Given that, a pro vaccination conclusion seems pretty obvious.

    There are clusters, and where the clusters are, I'm guessing you'll find clusters of anti-vaccine people as well.
    posted by small_ruminant at 5:11 PM on February 16, 2009


    Please. please - leave the kids out of it. That is to say, I agree 1,852% that the choice not to vaccinate is wrong and dangerous, but let's not ever, EVER sink to the level where we wish harm on children who can't control their parents decisions. Let's instead say "No thanks to YOU" to Balisong when those children grow up, healthy and wise, get vaccinated before college, and choose to protect their own children as best as science and medicine can provide.
    posted by bunnycup at 5:29 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    >Diseases are preventable, but if it's not that, it'll be something else.

    Dying of something preventable at age 9 is not the same of dying of something else at age 80. Get the vaccine and stop justifying your horrible life decisions with this kind of fatalistic bullshit.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 5:35 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Oh, I do hope your kids eventually find this thread some time in future so they can decide on what kind of parenting they received. I hope they learn the folly of conspiracy theories, science illiteracy, and the collection of nutball nonsense all forms of libertarianism are.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 5:43 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Sheep moo? News to me.

    No sympathy, Balisong. Your decision is rresponsible toward the society in which you live. You can't expect to say "screw you" to people's health and safety, and not expect pushback.

    You should do the responsible, socially responsible, loving thing: get your goddamn children vaccinated before you end up killing someone else's kid. You stupid, selfish, arrogant bastard.
    posted by five fresh fish at 5:44 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


    You know, I just had to have this conversation with my 2 year old, but here goes.
    Everybody dies.
    Being born is a death sentence.
    Most of the time, it's from something that is preventable, for a while.

    You all will die. My children will die. I will die. Plants die. Cats die. I've had trucks that have died, and our house will eventually fall apart.


    "Ah, physical fitness... whatever.

    You know, whatever. You do what you like to do; I do what I like to do, okay?

    But you're a sucker. You're gettin' fed this line about how, like, 'you're gonna live forever', or whatever.

    You're gonna die. Someone'll kill ya'. Someone'll kill ya' with a knife."

    posted by the other side at 5:53 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Your kids will also laugh at your 9/11 truther crusade you held on the internet.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 5:59 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    fyi, Balisong's position is completely unsupported by Buddhism. The whole point of Buddhism is to relieve suffering.

    Buddhist. Vaccinated. Will vaccinate my children. It's all about compassion, including the compassion for my children and for strangers who don't need to be exposed to measles.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:05 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    If you meet the Buddha on the road, vaccinate him!
    posted by found missing at 6:09 PM on February 16, 2009 [12 favorites]


    This post title would make a good band name.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:14 PM on February 16, 2009


    I find it extraordinary how those of such delicate sensibilities can stomach—nay, crave—the need for an audience to witness and appreciate the full passion of their ambivalence!

    Wow. Right on. Its like Nietzche just showed up in this thread.
    posted by Ironmouth at 6:15 PM on February 16, 2009


    Balisong says: I'm not the best spokesperson to defend my position.

    Then don't say it here. MeTa and MeFi is rough. If you can't handle it...stay outta the kitchen. I'm not saying this to harass you...I'm saying it because I've been roughed up here.

    I see people using SCIENCE AND RELIGION to beat down your arguments. Seriously...I've never seen that before. Religion AND Science working together to kick your opinion's ass. If that can happen, you seriously don't wanna bring your opinion here.

    Welcome to the school of hard...shocks.
    posted by hal_c_on at 6:17 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

    Sheep moo? News to me.
    The ones who don't follow the herd do.
    posted by Flunkie at 6:31 PM on February 16, 2009


    Whats going on here? Did the prisonplanet forums suddenly overflow into mefi? Im sure those people would LOVE to hear more about how Rove planned 9/11 and how vaccinations are the work of the devil. Man, I thought you were a quaint kook before, but now that I know youre a parent, you make me sick. Unfortunately, there's no vaccination for that.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 6:32 PM on February 16, 2009


    Regardless about how I feel about Balisong's opinion re: vaccination and his comments in the FPP, I don't think it's particularly necessary to start throwing unrelated things he's said back in his face. It stinks of irrelevant bullying potshottery and makes this MeTa even less constructive than it was.
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:39 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Yes, lets coddle child abusers, while videos of abused cats call for immediate action, nuts like this deserve cake and hugs.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 6:43 PM on February 16, 2009


    Obey traffic signals if you want, ignore traffic signals if you want. If you don't want your kid anywhere near people who ignore traffic signals, ever, feel free to move to a totalitarian nation that mandates and enforces obedience to traffic signals for all residents and visitors, EVEN THE ONES THAT ARE IN A HURRY, and stay there.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:44 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    I'm convinced. Time to go get unvaccinated!
    posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:46 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Hey! You got 9/11 Truther in my non-vaccinator!
    Hey! You got non-vaccinator in my 9/11 Truther!

    The kind of batshitinsane you can only get by combining two already-great crazies.
    posted by 0xFCAF at 6:52 PM on February 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


    A few months ago I read a newspaper article on how upwards of 20% of the students at a particular elementary school were not vaccinated. Not vaccinating has gotten popular enough that the concept of your child not catching anything because none of the other kids will get it has gotten ridiculous.

    Once in a while one might consider what the world would be like if everyone behaved the way one is behaving.

    On the other hand, if you really believe in not vaccinating your own kids, they would be better off if you tell everyone else that they should vaccinate theirs.

    I know someone´s going to ask for a site on that article, but as I don´t recall which paper it was in or what elementary school it was, I can´t track it down.
    posted by yohko at 6:56 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Balisong. tutorial.
    posted by dirty lies at 7:00 PM on February 16, 2009


    Yes, lets coddle child abusers, while videos of abused cats call for immediate action, nuts like this deserve cake and hugs.

    "Wi' me or agin' me! Justified! JUSTIFIED!!!"

    Seriously, take a deep breath and a break from slapping people in the face with your shame wang and try using your grown-up voice to explain to me how dredging up some 9/11 bunk he said three years ago* is at all relevant to this conversation - beyond being another wacky belief (But far more innocuous than the vaccination thing) that you can mock him for with perceived impunity because he's on the shitlist.

    You're just being an piling-on asshole because you can be.

    *Hunh, before you even joined - are you lurker with an incredibly memory, sock-puppet with an axe to grind, or just some asshole who trolled Balisong's comment history for some extra mud to sling?
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:04 PM on February 16, 2009


    Regardless about how I feel about Balisong's opinion re: vaccination and his comments in the FPP, I don't think it's particularly necessary to start throwing unrelated things he's said back in his face. It stinks of irrelevant bullying potshottery and makes this MeTa even less constructive than it was.

    Actually, I respectfully disagree -- I think it illuminates Balisong's overall position in that weird brand of libertarianism that seems to find its nexus somewhere between the 9/11 truthers, anti-vaccine folks, and Ron Paul supporters.

    I think it's batshit insane and I don't understand it, but at least now I have some point of reference.
    posted by spiderwire at 7:04 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Anti-science people make me just about as mad as anything can make me. At the risk of getting my comment deleted, I do hope his children die because of his idiocy.

    I'm with most everyone else in thinking the anti-vaccination position is pernicious and dangerous, but this is so vile I can hardly find the words for it. If you're going to wish death on people, wish it on those who are actually responsible for those actions and their consquences- as it is, you just announced to the world that you're hoping innocent children (who are not, themselves, responsible for spreading anti-vaccination beliefs) die so that it will prove a point to their parent. I'm hoping you don't actually mean that and are just saying it in an attempt to make a point about what Balisong is advocating (if so, I kind of think there were better ways to do it), but if you do... well, actually, I don't really think there's much else to say. The sort of person who hopes for the death of children so that it will punish their parents isn't really worth wasting words on. (There's a certain irony in such a person saying how mad anti-science people make him, though. Punishing children for the sins of their fathers is not really an idea that's generally associated with scientific rationalism.)
    posted by a louis wain cat at 7:07 PM on February 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


    Alvy knows a lot of bad words. Im scared!

    Youre ignorant if you think his other conspiracy theories have nothing to do with this. Regardless, this is all for nothing. Balisong knows better than to listen to sheeple like me. Only he knows the truth! *insert x-files music here*
    posted by damn dirty ape at 7:10 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Didn't we try this 661 years ago?
    posted by iamkimiam at 7:11 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    try using your grown-up voice to explain to me how dredging up some 9/11 bunk he said three years ago* is at all relevant to this conversation - beyond being another wacky belief (But far more innocuous than the vaccination thing) that you can mock him for with perceived impunity because he's on the shitlist.

    Alvy, I'll give that a shot, since I responded to your first comment before I saw this one -- because both threads evince a very similar brand of anti-authoritarian, the-government-is-out-to-get-us lunacy, but in this case, it's not just random lunacy, it actually affects his kids.
    posted by spiderwire at 7:16 PM on February 16, 2009


    Chuckles, good point. But most measles and mumps infections don't have long-lasting effects, either. I still don't know whether that clarifies things.

    yohko, yikes. There's some folks who didn't think things all the way through.
    posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:19 PM on February 16, 2009


    Youre ignorant if you think his other conspiracy theories have nothing to do with this.

    Oh, bullshit. The most prominent proponents of vaccination=autism aren't Alex Jones or Art Bell crackpot fans - if they were, the idea wouldn't have gained as much mainstream traction as it has.
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:20 PM on February 16, 2009


    When are we going to start talking about fluoride in the water? I HAVE OPINIONS ON FLUORIDE IN THE WATER GODSDAMMIT!
    posted by turgid dahlia at 7:20 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Yes, lets coddle child abusers, while videos of abused cats call for immediate action, nuts like this deserve cake and hugs.

    "Wi' me or agin' me! Justified! JUSTIFIED!!!"


    I think the point of that comment was the 4chan reference, which also makes a certain amount of sense even if it was phrased poorly.

    Internet Truth
    posted by spiderwire at 7:22 PM on February 16, 2009


    Oh, bullshit. The most prominent proponents of vaccination=autism aren't Alex Jones or Art Bell

    I beg to differ. Tin foil hats come in many sizes and styles.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 7:24 PM on February 16, 2009


    Oh, bullshit. The most prominent proponents of vaccination=autism aren't Alex Jones or Art Bell crackpot fans - if they were, the idea wouldn't have gained as much mainstream traction as it has.

    Isn't the perceived credibility and persistence of the anti-vaccination hypotheses -- much like the 9/11 Truther theories -- actually precisely the point?
    posted by spiderwire at 7:26 PM on February 16, 2009


    Alex Jones on vaccines. I dont even have to watch the video to know which side he is on.
    posted by damn dirty ape at 7:27 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I agree with Alvy - dredging up a user's comment history for snark material, while it's tempting to do so, is childish. And ignorant. No one's coddling Balisong - quite the opposite.
    posted by HopperFan at 7:32 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Alex Jones on vaccines. I dont even have to watch the video to know which side he is on.

    Uh, the dark side of the loon?

    Also: arguably on topic, if you're basing your estimation of Balisong's perceived victimization on this MeTa thread alone, I suggest you pop into the original thread in the Blue and see to just what extent, despite his protests to the contrary after opening this thread, that the original was still "not about him," he manages to hit just about every Troll Trope in the book. I'm not wishing death on anyone's kids, yet I can't help but view this MeTa thread through the lens of his own (to me, self-evident) trollery. I mean, he chimed in with deliberately combative rhetoric on the first post, and others -- for good or ill -- rose to the bait. It was sadly predictable all around but let's be honest: Balisong is either deliberately tweaking people or ...

    I wash my hands of it. Especially since his kids aren't vaccinated.
    posted by joe lisboa at 7:39 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I wash my hands... Especially since his kids aren't vaccinated.

    good plan
    posted by waraw at 7:49 PM on February 16, 2009


    I wash my hands...

    With Fluoride water?
    posted by qvantamon at 7:52 PM on February 16, 2009


    MeTa and MeFi is rough. If you can't handle it...stay outta the kitchen.

    Not a fan of sports analogies, but jonmc said it best somewhere on the site (or IRC), something to the effect of, "Metafilter is not practice. Put on your pads, buckle your helmet and get ready to take some hits."

    I am strongly pro-vaccine, but to see some of the comments here, from mefites I respect, makes me sad.

    Cue "You know what else will make you sad?" type-comments any minute.
    posted by mlis at 8:01 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Isn't the perceived credibility and persistence of the anti-vaccination hypotheses -- much like the 9/11 Truther theories -- actually precisely the point?

    I do get your point, spiderwire, but what I'm saying is that while the Prison Planet-9/11 Truth-extreme libertarian crowd shares the anti-vaccine movement's beliefs, the two groups aren't interchangeable. The anti-vac thing went mainstream when ostensibly educated middle-class 'normal' people started buying the books and pushing the agenda, not because David Icke fanboys were cheerleading it - and because of the exclusivity of those two groups("I believe vaccinations hurt kids." "I believe vaccinations hurt kids, Reptiloids run the world, you can see Satan's face in the WTC smoke and the government uses flouride to control our minds."), I think it's disingenuous to say that inclusion of Balisong's previous comments are justified or relevant in this situation.

    damn dirty ape's trawling of his comment history (Not trolling like I said before, whoops) is stupid bullying. Trying to get the guy to understand he is seriously endangering his children and other people through ignorance and inaction is one thing, bringing up some old shit just to try to humiliate him under the cover of 'See? Look what a dummy he is!' is another.

    I think the point of that comment was the 4chan reference, which also makes a certain amount of sense even if it was phrased poorly.

    I thought the point of your comment was to whore yourself up some favorites with a double dose of gotcha! and zing! Regardless, it doesn't make sense if a person doesn't follow 4chan, sorry.
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:02 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Is this the thread where we discuss the sapping and impurification of our precious bodily fluids?
    posted by Nomiconic at 8:05 PM on February 16, 2009


    bunnycup,
    I'm so sorry for your trouble. I wish you comfort and peace.
    posted by Divine_Wino at 8:23 PM on February 16, 2009


    A parent like Balisong wants to reduce his risk of a lifetime of caring for an autistic child by 5% (or maybe 1%, or maybe not at all) at the cost of a tripled-but-still-small risk of an old childhood disease. I expected this tradeoff to be unreasonable. It's not clear to me that it is. I'd love to see a counterargument.

    Public health is a thorny problem with lots of tradeoffs. Vitriol doesn't make it any easier.


    There is no "right" to endanger others. There is no "tradeoff" he should be allowed to use to endanger others. His cost-benefit analysis is irrelevant. It is society's cost-benefit interest that is being discussed. You can choose to answer the question from the frame of his benefits, but the rest of us refuse to do so. We have duties to others beyond our own self-interest. Put another way, calling him out in this thread has a zero chance of causing anyone so calling him out to raise their own child with autism and a slightly less than zero chance of causing someone to get their kid vaccinated and make it safer for the rest of us. And when organisms act socially, sometimes they use something other than straight intellectual debate to convince others to act as they want. Hence the vitriol.
    posted by Ironmouth at 8:25 PM on February 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Speaking of foreskins, another heated MeFi topic1: Weenie Wrinkle Wonder — shots of circumcized foreskin are better than botox. Soon, mothers will be selling their child's penis to the highest bidding biddy!

    1Admittedly, lives generally aren't at stake if you do/n't get your child circumcized.
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:32 PM on February 16, 2009


    I nominate this thread closed. I'm not sure there's anything else left to say that would merit the bandwidth.
    posted by jabberjaw at 8:33 PM on February 16, 2009


    I didn't read everything here, but isn't the whole argument kind of mooted since it came to light that the doctor who started the whole autism-innoculation thing falsified his data?
    posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:39 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


    I don't like children anyway. Do what you like.
    posted by pompomtom at 8:43 PM on February 16, 2009


    I'm not that sure Balisong isn't trolling.

    His first comment over there compared us all to the PATRIOT Act, sure to ignite people.

    Over here, he starts off with that "everybody dies" bullshit, and seems to contradict his argument with this: Diseases are preventable, but if it's not that, it'll be something else.

    Diseases are preventable WITH VACCINATIONS.
    posted by graventy at 8:46 PM on February 16, 2009


    Nobody comment below this line:

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    posted by dunkadunc at 8:52 PM on February 16, 2009


    Below which line?
    posted by Commander Rachek at 8:54 PM on February 16, 2009


    Good idea, dunkadunc.
    posted by grouse at 8:54 PM on February 16, 2009


    Nice idea dunk, but I don't think it worked.
    posted by Pope Guilty at 8:57 PM on February 16, 2009


    I didn't read everything here, but isn't the whole argument kind of mooted since it came to light that the doctor who started the whole autism-innoculation thing falsified his data?

    You'd think so, but I believe it was caddis who said, "Watermelon Skittles? Oh, you're so fucking autismed up, now, dude!"
    posted by dirigibleman at 9:01 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I mean, no comment.
    posted by dirigibleman at 9:02 PM on February 16, 2009


    I thought the point of your comment was to whore yourself up some favorites with a double dose of gotcha! and zing!

    If you hate favorites so much, why don't you just follow the little link in your profile to turn them off?
    posted by spiderwire at 9:08 PM on February 16, 2009


    Oh for fuck's sake, is this thread still going on?

    Everybody take a step back, put their guns down, stop wishing harm to each other's kids, and contemplate the GIANT FUCKING PLATE OF BEANS IN FRONT OF THEM. Because that's all it is. A plate. Of beans.
    posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:10 PM on February 16, 2009


    On "House" a woman who was refusing to vaccinate her child was told that she should start looking into buying a tiny coffin. Can't find the quote online though.

    Season 1, episode 2, 'Paternity':

    All natural, no dyes. That's a good business - all-natural children's toys. Those toy companies, they don't arbitrarily mark up their frogs. They don't lie about how much they spend on research and development. And the worst that a toy company can be accused of is making a really boring frog. Gribbit, gribbit, gribbit. You know another really good business? Teeny tiny baby coffins. You can get them in frog green, fire engine red. Really. The antibodies in yummy mummy only protect the kid for six months, which is why these companies think they can gouge you. They think that you'll spend whatever they ask to keep your kid alive. Want to change things? Prove them wrong. A few hundred parents like you decide they'd rather let their kid die then cough up 40 bucks for a vaccination, believe me, prices will drop *really* fast. Gribbit, gribbit, gribbit, gribbit, gribbit.
    posted by arnicae at 9:15 PM on February 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


    This thread got weird.

    I mean, weirder.
    posted by Caduceus at 9:17 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Hey, this brings back memories for me!

    I used to watch the national evening news on TV with my father virtually every night from about 1968 until about 1981, when I moved into the dorms. I remember watching the evening news broadcast somewhere in the late 1970's which reported that the WHO had announced the eradication of smallpox.

    The news in and of itself was mind blowing to me, even as a high school kid, as I had no idea that an eradication program was even in effect. I knew enough about the history of epidemic disease to know that this was an absolute milestone in human history, the epidemiological equivalent of putting a man on the moon.

    But then my father dropped an even more profound bombshell on me, rather casually in fact. "I had smallpox".

    This was astounding, as even then I knew that Jenner had come out with his vaccine in the late 1700's. By the time my father was a child, the smallpox vaccine was commonly available. The fact that my father survived smallpox, growing up in Butte Montana in the 1930's, amazed me further still. He showed no scarring that was visible.

    "Why weren't you vaccinated?", was all I could think of to ask.

    "My parents didn't believe in it". I still couldn't understand, as I suddenly started having to make a bunch of inferences. My father is an emotionally private person, and many things I'm very curious about I just don't ask about. He's Irish, so I had to assume his parents were either Catholic if religious, or atheist. My father is atheist. As far as I know, the Catholic church has never opposed vaccination, though they are, of course, saddled with a boat-load of other irrationalities...

    So all I could gather from my father was that my paternal grandparents opposed vaccination on some sort of nebulous anti-government, anti-medical establishment, anti-something-or-other irrational reason.

    So when I hear about people who oppose vaccination all I can think of is "Yeah, my father contracted smallpox because of people like you..."
    posted by Tube at 9:19 PM on February 16, 2009 [24 favorites]


    If you hate favorites so much, why don't you just follow the little link in your profile to turn them off?

    Who said I hate favorites? I was challenging the claim that dragging years-old irrelevant shit into the conversation was a justifiably righteous move, rather than just bully posturing and pandering to the rest of the folks with pitchforks.

    That said, I can't find the disable command you speak of - is it in my Profile Edit page, and will it still allow me to favorite other people's posts and comments?
    posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:24 PM on February 16, 2009


    So why is it okay to choose, AGAINST vastly dominant medical advice, to endanger one's own and other children in a much wider way by not vaccinating? I am asking as an honest, not just rhetorical, question. Where do we draw the line on parents making choices that endanger their children, and especially other children too?

    bunnycup, first of all I want offer my sincere sympathies to you. I wish I were better able to express my feelings in that regard.

    I do not think it is wise or responsible to not vaccinate one's children and, in fact, I understand that it is prudent to vaccinate children. But in the U.S.A. it is legal not to vaccinate one's children. That's where the line has been drawn in that society. Maybe that line should be redrawn. Unless and until it is, I suggest that the best course of action is to engage in caring and/or science-based discussions with those who choose not to vaccinate their children. Many of the comments in this thread make erroneous assumptions about the extent to which society's interests supersede people's rights.

    All of us participate in activities (i.e., make choices) every day that endanger the health and safety of children. Societies have laws that dictate when those activities "cross the line." There are options available to those who hold different beliefs about where the line should be drawn, but fortunately they do not include forcing one's beliefs on another regardless of whether they are majority or minority views.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 9:55 PM on February 16, 2009


    See, I think you're making exactly the opposite point you were trying to make. Did belief in the above [AIDS denialism, 9/11 conspiracy and satanic abuse] decline over time because people were persuaded by reasoned argument, or were those beliefs marginalized and ridiculed?

    It's a good point and certainly where my argument is mostly an appeal to intuition. If yours is different, there's nothing definitive I can say. I would still maintain that it's important to separate out those who actively argue and promulgate (one or two on metafilter, a few dozen on prisonplanet, more on blogs) from those who quietly believe something that's wrong. (remember, that's 19% of the US population in the case of the vaccine-autism link)

    It may be that the only way to deal with the blusterers and trolls themselves is though marginalising them, but I believe that those others are able to be persuaded. Perhaps not through careful study of the research, but from seeing that those on the pro-vacc side have reason and logic on their side and those on the anti-vacc side are the ones desperately flinging mud. Let's not leave the high ground.
    posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:57 PM on February 16, 2009


    I'm still waiting to hear about this pediatrician that's getting decapitated?
    posted by rifflesby at 9:59 PM on February 16, 2009


    ***walks into thread***

    Oh hi guys, what's--

    ***looks around, pauses***

    ***backs out of thread very, very slowly***
    posted by Rangeboy at 10:16 PM on February 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


    So, I have this truckload of fat, circumcised kids out back by the docks, and the lading bill just says "Assorted fat kids. Declaw before processing."

    My only question is should I just dump them in a pile on the docks or should I use a pitchfork or what?
    posted by loquacious at 10:27 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    loquacious writes "My only question is should I just dump them in a pile on the docks or should I use a pitchfork or what?"

    You need to give them IQ tests first, then let them play on metal jungle gyms built on cement foundations.
    posted by krinklyfig at 10:34 PM on February 16, 2009


    And then take them to church.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:38 PM on February 16, 2009


    And then have them circumcised.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 11:02 PM on February 16, 2009


    Again!
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:04 PM on February 16, 2009


    Just to make sure it took the first time.
    posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:05 PM on February 16, 2009


    again.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 11:10 PM on February 16, 2009


    %^&^$%#$*^*$#$
    posted by UbuRoivas at 11:11 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    again?
    posted by jacalata at 11:18 PM on February 16, 2009


    And then eat the foreskins with the placentas you've been saving in the freezer.
    posted by pracowity at 11:22 PM on February 16, 2009


    Then ship them to the West Bank.
    posted by schyler523 at 11:23 PM on February 16, 2009


    Idiots having kids depresses me more than just about anything else. People thinking of kids as possessions to do with as they see fit, regardless of whether it is detrimental to their well being, or the well being of others, is right up there, too.
    posted by maxwelton at 11:28 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Idiots with no child rearing experience spouting off on how to raise kids depress me.
    posted by caddis at 12:23 AM on February 17, 2009


    Placenta! Yum Yummy with Bacon!
    posted by five fresh fish at 12:37 AM on February 17, 2009


    Idiots with no child rearing experience spouting off on how to raise kids depress me.

    I don't think a person needs to have children in order to have the right to express themselves on this subject. This goes a bit beyond child-raising, I think, as the non-vaccinated children can become carriers of diseases that could infect, harm or kill others.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:54 AM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


    So, I have this truckSUV load of fat, circumcised kids ....

    FTFY
    posted by Catch at 1:10 AM on February 17, 2009


    Idiots depress me. I get depressed a lot.
    posted by dg at 1:26 AM on February 17, 2009


    I don't believe in an interventionist god, but I know darling that you do. But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him not to intervene when it came to you.
    posted by dirty lies at 2:23 AM on February 17, 2009


    This can keeps moving across my desk. Condensation and all, but still, weird as shit.
    posted by turgid dahlia at 2:46 AM on February 17, 2009


    "Idiots with no child rearing experience spouting off on how to raise kids depress me."

    Because it's a proven fact that the more kids you have, the better parent you become.
    posted by bardic at 3:12 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    I'm just thinking about the kids here. What if there is a slight chance of helping them, with vaccination, wouldn't you want to use it. Or do you want to be one of those guys who stands up and says, see, I told you vaccination isn't going to help you--it didn't help my kids--and now they're all dead. Because, believe me, kids are worth much more than that--then winning some argument on Metafilter, and changing the minds of others. Just take care of your own kids and let others take care of their own, and if vaccination is helping them do that, then good for them. Why do you have to be pro or anti something? Don't kids have enough as it is to go through. Now we've decided to put all of this on them. Jesus, chill out guys--it's a good day outside, and I'm happy we're all alive--aren't you.
    posted by hadjiboy at 3:38 AM on February 17, 2009


    Jesus, chill out guys--it's a good day outside, and I'm happy we're all alive--aren't you.

    It's day?

    *clears empty pizza boxes from the sill, pushes up dusty blinds*

    Well, waddaya know! I'm going to go on over to a few other forums to see if anyone else noticed.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:43 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    If you hate favorites so much, why don't you just follow the little link in your profile to turn them off?

    That said, I can't find the disable command you speak of - is it in my Profile Edit page, and will it still allow me to favorite other people's posts and comments?

    Are you saying there is no link? ALVY, DON'T TELL ME THEY GOT TO YOU, TOO!
    posted by spiderwire at 4:07 AM on February 17, 2009


    I don't think a person needs to have children in order to have the right to express themselves on this subject.

    Oh, they have the right, they just lack the knowledge. You can not understand how terrifying it can be to have your child injected with something that should protect them against something they will never likely come into contact with but that could kill them, small chance, yet real. Childless people can not understand the full range and depth of these emotions, no matter how much they think they can. It's as strong as you think it is, times ten.
    posted by caddis at 4:58 AM on February 17, 2009


    Since this is such a hot topic, Mrs. Balisong wanted to write out a clarification of our stance.
    She's always been a much better communicator


    I can’t answer to all of the assumptions they’re making about our decision to not vaccinate our kids, or to all of the emotional venom I see spewing forth. Most of what I’m reading here smacks of gut reactions and parroting the propaganda we’ve all been raised with, without questioning it or doing any independent research on the matter. I also don’t claim to speak for other parents who have chosen not to vaccinate their kids.

    However, I can outline what our personal reasoning was behind the decision. I guarantee that I have put a great deal more time and effort into researching the issue of vaccination than most of the people posting on your thread. This is natural, since most of them are not parents, and it really doesn’t become an issue worth looking into until one is actually faced with making a decision for their child.

    First, we are not anti-vaccines. We have chosen to err on the side of caution while we take the time and make the effort to educate ourselves. There is enough controversy around this issue to warrant a closer look before performing an irreversible medical procedure on our children. Once the disease toxins and adjuvant chemicals have been injected, they cannot be taken back out. If we ultimately decide to go ahead with the vaccinations, then we can always have them injected later.

    Next -- at this time, in our personal situation, the risks of the vaccines seem to outweigh the benefits. We have the time to learn as much as possible before we pose a risk to ourselves or the community at large. None of us is especially likely to be in a situation where we would contract a disease or spread one. Our kids are toddlers. They do not attend day care. We do not live in a major port city or see much international traffic in our town. We don’t plan to travel internationally. Neither parent works in food service, the health industry, or any other public service job. I am willing and able to offer extended breastfeeding to our kids, granting them antibodies for any diseases I have immunities for through my milk. If any of these things were otherwise, or likely to change, we would need to revise our position.

    I am dismayed by the lack of solid information available for parents to base their decisions on. Both sides of the issue are full of emotional arguments. It is really hard to sift through the muck to come to a rational decision. One stumbling block I keep hitting is that all of the research available on the safety of the newer vaccines is paid for by the drug companies. Vaccines are not tested for safety against placebo, but against the vaccines currently in use. Although many in the anti-vaccine crowd claim that chronic illness can be induced by vaccination, with symptoms not showing up until years later, children are not followed beyond a few weeks or months after the injection. I would feel a whole lot more comfortable making a decision to vaccinate my kids fully if I had access to an independent study on EACH vaccine separately, tested against placebo, and following the test subjects to check for reactions throughout their lives.

    Some of the vaccines clearly make no sense. Chickenpox vaccine is known to be effective for only 10 years or so. Unfortunately, while for most children chickenpox is a mild illness (which grants LIFELONG immunity), adult cases of chickenpox are deadly serious. Why are we immunizing children against a mild disease, only to leave them vulnerable to a life-threatening one when the vaccine wears off? Further, there have been cases of shingles in children who had the chickenpox vaccine. Shingles is extremely painful and was previously an adult condition, caused by latent virus in the body after having chickenpox as a child. Clearly, there are motives other than the well-being of children at play with this vaccine.

    The Hep B vaccine is routinely given to all newborns in hospitals on the day they are born. Hepatitis B is a disease transmitted by unprotected sex and needle-sharing, through the blood. This vaccine appears to be a cash cow for the drug companies, since no newborn I ever met was really into the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll scene. If the mother doesn’t have it, the baby is not at risk for it.

    Other vaccines are more ambiguous. Both sides are very vocal and emotional about the issue. I’m reading everything I can find on the vaccines and on the diseases themselves, to form an educated opinion of the risks and benefits of both sides of the issue to base our decision on. I’ve found the CDC pamphlets that are handed out by doctors (and are the basis for most parents’ decision to vaccinate) to be heavy on scare tactics and lacking in educational value.

    I question the reasoning behind injecting so many vaccines before kids are age 2, when the blood-brain barrier is formed in the spinal column. Before that barrier is in place, anything that is circulating in the blood is free to enter the brain. Aluminum, Formaldehyde, Mercury (though not so much now that the Thimerosol has been reduced). Where are the studies on the effects of these things on developing brain cells?

    I would hope that every parent would look as closely at the decisions they make for their children as we have on this one. But many seem content to go along with what big pharma pays their doctors to tell them. There’s no harm in our taking the time to educate ourselves and to weigh the consequences of our decision. We’re concerned about the health of our kids and are certainly not putting others’ kids at any more risk of disease than most adults are. Consider that most adults ARE the walking un-vaccinated, since boosters are needed every 10 years to maintain herd immunity.

    Finally, to clear up misinformation that seems to be going around, we have not kept our kids away from medical care. I took our first child in to several well-baby visits before our doctor took me aside and told me that I was wasting money by coming in so often. Since we’re not vaccinating, the well-baby visits were a waste of time and money. She told me to bring them in for a checkup every few years, and whenever they are sick (which, incidentally, occurs extremely rarely, given our lifestyle).
    posted by Balisong at 5:03 AM on February 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


    Well sure, maybe they can't understand what it feels like to have a doctor give your child an injection that has a miniscule chance of making him or her sick. But it's only one part of this entire issue here, and telescoping onto how it feels to take your kid to get shots unfairly excludes a lot of other facets of reality.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:09 AM on February 17, 2009


    And here we go ...
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:13 AM on February 17, 2009


    Vaccines are not tested for safety against placebo, but against the vaccines currently in use.

    I'm no medical researcher, but from what I understand about drug tests - and vaccines - a vaccination with a placebo would be totally useless. The placebo effect is based on psychological belief in a drug's efficacy, which incases of things like pain relief, is a legitimate metric to use when testing a drug.

    In terms of immunity, your white blood cells/antibodies do not benefit from the placebo effect. If you are exposed to measles, there is absolutely no possible way that your body will rally defenses based on a belief that you've had the measles shot. It works with endorphins, yes, but not with the immune system. Try it sometime. Drink some orange juice and stand around someone who has the flu and tell yourself that you will NOT get sick because you drank orange juice.

    Simplistic, yes, but that's pretty much the placebo test. Or, if you'd rather, give your friend a glass of orange juice and tell him it contains a vaccine against the common cold. Put him in a room with someone who is dripping with snot. See what happens.

    Testing a placebo with a vaccine would also just be flat out cruel since test subjects would develop a disease that they truly believed that they wouldn't get. Not only is this dangerous for their physical health, but would you ever, EVER trust a doctor who had told you that you were vaccinated against measles and allowed you to actually GET the measles? Placebo studies are double-blind, meaning you can't know which one you have. This kind of trickery, were it to take place, would certainly give more weight to the *anti* vaccination crowd since we would never KNOW what we were and were not vaccinated against.

    Clearly, Balisong and his wife have done a lot of research and put a lot of thought into their children's medical decisions, but it's also clear that they don't understand - from a medical point of view - how either vaccines or the immune system actually work. Testing vaccines against current vaccines isn't a conspiracy - it's scientific method. Testing by drug companies isn't a ploy to get money - vaccines are cheap, and in some cases, free. They're not turning a profit on these drugs. Many, if not most, medications are tested by the companies that provide them - and yes, this can get a bit excessive in cases of "designer" drugs, but vaccines are centuries old science and no one's going to get rich from whipping up a batch of MMR vaccine.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:15 AM on February 17, 2009 [18 favorites]


    The chickenpox vaccine is a special case. Many doctors actually recommend against it for just the reasons you stated. The kids who shouldn't get vaccinated for some other things sometimes become the ones who should get this. That states have mandated this vaccine remains controversial and represents a triumph of the pharmaceutical lobbyists over common sense.
    posted by caddis at 5:16 AM on February 17, 2009


    I would feel a whole lot more comfortable making a decision to vaccinate my kids fully if I had access to an independent study on EACH vaccine separately, tested against placebo, and following the test subjects to check for reactions throughout their lives.

    Evil pharma, but not evil enough to give placebo vaccinations to children. "Occurence of polio in group B was comparable to 19th century levels."
    posted by Free word order! at 5:30 AM on February 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


    I'm still waiting to hear about this pediatrician that's getting decapitated?

    Short version of the story, rifflesby. The quack who delivered me...

    (and let my mother remain in active labor in the hospital for 3+ days, but wouldn't a. let her get up and walk around, as she wanted to, and b. eat anything other than Jello, or c. do anything else to either speed up the damn delivery, despite nothing that would have contraindicated doing so...in fact, I was a few weeks overdue at that point...finally, on day #3 he gets bored with tormenting her and says, oh, you've still got 1 cm to go, let's just do a c-section...which he botched all to hell, too!)

    ...ended up getting decapitated. Not by mom, though I can't say I would've blamed her. Although, I do like to think of it as poetic justice. Also, see above re: Why I Am An Only Child.

    This was in the mid-70s in a reasonably modern hospital within easy reach of one of the world's best hospitals, too. It wasn't like we were stranded in Antarctica with only Dr. House and a video feed.
    posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:56 AM on February 17, 2009


    We have chosen to err on the side of caution

    *speechless*
    posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:57 AM on February 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


    So the argument is "I don't understand science and have an unjustified fear of some vaguely sinister star chamber of drug manufacturers, the rest of you are wrong and suckers?"

    I got a tetanus booster a few weeks ago, but your compelling argument has caused me to cut open my arm and try to draw the fluids back out.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 5:59 AM on February 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


    I guarantee that I have put a great deal more time and effort into researching the issue of vaccination than most of the people posting on your thread.

    But yet you won't listen to the people who have spent a lifetime studying medicine, diseases, and vaccines. You think that reading a few books from Amazon puts you on equal footing with the people who do the heavy lifting of hard research to stop the spread of communicable diseases. Oh, but of course - BIG PHARMA CONSPIRACY MONEY EVIL DIE.
    posted by billysumday at 6:04 AM on February 17, 2009 [19 favorites]


    I agree that it's ridiculous to try and convince people who have doubts about vaccinating their children that vaccination is worth it with hyperbole and drama! drama! drama! and wishing death upon their children in order to convince them that vaccination is a good thing.
    I would offer up this link and suggest that you read the many fine topics within - the latest ones are rehashes; as you will see the blog's author is rehashing old topics because he's coping with a death in his family (unrelated to vaccinations) without getting pissed off by people who are hating on you for your reluctance to just accept that everything your doctor says is true. There are people on that site who offer up facts about vaccinations and the research that's been (and is being) done to confirm the belief that vaccinating your children is a good thing. There are also people on there who will call you an arsehole if you're worried about everything else that you've been told regarding the risks involved in vaccination.
    I advise you to to take a deep breath, ignore the rude people, and read the facts that are presented by qualified people who are not being paid by pharmaceutical companies (or even if they are, being paid by pharms I mean, that's not what their prime motivation in trying to convince you that vaccinations are very well worth considering is based on).
    Nothing is without risk. Some things are safer than others. Some people will have bad reactions, due to allergies etc. Based upon actual scientific research, which others much better qualified than I can attest to, there does not appear to be any link between vaccinations and autism. Based upon that same research, causing diseases to die out due to vaccinations is a possibility. Because you (Balisong and spouse) are researching this subject, it is in your (and your childrens) best interests to read what is being said on that site. You just have to ignore the rude people. But just because they're rude doesn't mean that they're not right.
    posted by h00py at 6:05 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    All told, it seems like you have all the information you need, you just don't trust it. You don't trust the sources. So all of us shouting at you to vaccinate your kids for their health and the others around you are really wasting our breath, because really the issue here is not whether or not vaccines are safe but rather your paranoid distrust of the American government and the evil intentions of profit-making corporations. Which means that to some extent, you're making a political decision when it comes to the health of your children. Perhaps something happened in your life that caused you to distrust doctors. Perhaps you are worried that those in charge do not have the best interest of the public's health in mind. Maybe if you got at the root of that distrust you'd be more willing to accept the collective scientific consensus.
    posted by billysumday at 6:21 AM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


    Most of what I’m reading here smacks of gut reactions and parroting the propaganda we’ve all been raised with, without questioning it or doing any independent research on the matter.

    I hope that whichever of your children that manage to survive your inept parenting also manage to survive your brainwashing. I hope the survivors find your comment and come to condemn your irresponsible behavior, before vaccinating their own children. Above all, I hope no innocent people die because of your foolishness.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:27 AM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


    Balisong/Mrs Balisong, to take just one example you mention above:

    The Hep B vaccine is routinely given to all newborns in hospitals on the day they are born. Hepatitis B is a disease transmitted by unprotected sex and needle-sharing, through the blood. This vaccine appears to be a cash cow for the drug companies, since no newborn I ever met was really into the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll scene. If the mother doesn’t have it, the baby is not at risk for it.
    Before hepatitis B vaccination programs became routine in the United States, an estimated 30%–40% of chronic infections are believed to have resulted from perinatal or early childhood transmission, even though even though [under] 10% of reported cases of hepatitis B occurred in children aged [under] 10 years. Chronically infected persons are at increased lifetime risk for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and also serve as the main reservoir for continued HBV transmission...

    ...During 1990–2004, incidence of acute hepatitis B in the United States declined 75%. The greatest decline (94%) occurred among children and adolescents, coincident with an
    increase in hepatitis B vaccine coverage.

    A Comprehensive Immunization Strategy to Eliminate Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the United States
    The reasons for the vaccine being administered in this way are fairly obvious: you don't know whether the mother has Hep B, because even with routine testing of expectant mothers for the disease, you won't catch all the cases - the mothers never show up in the health system before they go into labour, mothers miss the screening (and those whose lifestyle may put them at risk of Hep B may also be more likely to miss it), or the screening returns a false negative. You don't need to be living a wild lifestyle to be at risk of transmission: babies get grazes, broken skin, etc. You can routinely test the mothers, but you can't routinely test everybody who may at some point care for the child. I'm sure you can think of others reasons.

    While you may feel that Hep B is no threat to newborn babies, the evidence shows fairly clearly that it was, and would continue to be so, if it were not for the measures that medical science takes to prevent it.
    posted by flashboy at 6:54 AM on February 17, 2009 [23 favorites]


    I think it's great that Balisong's wife took the time and effort to write out such a long, thoughtful explanation of her decision. We should at least respect that she is trying to explain her reasoning.

    However. I think her risk assessment is wrong. If the children go out around other people at all (the mall? the grocery store?) they are at risk of contracting a disease that could kill them and would certainly make them seriously ill. Especially now that more people are choosing not to vaccinate, it doesn't matter that you don't live in a "major port city" -- your kids are at risk whenever they breathe the same air as others do (measles, for example, stays airborne and contagious for two hours after an infected person has come and gone). You don't see the consequences of these illnesses because they've been mostly eliminated. But these consequences are far more certain and serious than some fear and speculation about "aluminum and the brain."
    posted by myeviltwin at 7:13 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Balisong: You've made a case against the Chicken Pox vaccine, one that I agree with. But your Hep-B argument is, confusing at best and you haven't addressed MMR or any of the other standard cocktail of childhood vaccines. Do you have concrete objections to these that you're not sharing?

    I say this not to egg you into a fight but because as much as you say you've made a rational decision about this your statements don't include any of that decision making process.
    posted by Skorgu at 7:20 AM on February 17, 2009


    I guarantee that I have put a great deal more time and effort into researching the issue of vaccination than most of the people posting on your thread. This is natural, since most of them are not parents,...

    After reading this "guarantee," and the wholly unsubstantiated claim in the sentence that follows it, it's really hard to give any credence to the rest of that comment. What it amounts to is saying that because she spent a lot of time trying to figure out whether vaccines are safe, and because she does not trust pharmaceutical companies, she's decided that most of the people who already know more about the issue than she'll ever learn, including what to trust drug companies to do, are probably wrong. Since their family seems to live in isolation, they probably can't actually endanger others - so long as they stay that isolated.
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:21 AM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


    One stumbling block I keep hitting is that all of the research available on the safety of the newer vaccines is paid for by the drug companies.

    This really probably belongs in the blue, but here goes.

    As a drug company pawn (see here) I have to ask, who do you think would test them if the drug companies didn't? I mean, suppose the government took over clinical testing. How would they bill for this service? Charge the drug companies? We're back where we started.

    So we should charge the tax payers? I'm not sure how many companies are doing clinical work these days, but I know our R&D budget is over 7 billion of which clinical testing is the lion's share. Making some guesses and doing some math, I'm going to say that our clinical work is $10 per person in the US. Now add in all the other companies doing testing. Oh, and add in all the small time operators who would churn out whatever they could, in hopes that something would stick. (Hint: the phrase, "In-License" makes my blood run cold.)

    I could go on with this (and will if you'd like) but I think it's pretty obvious that the tax payer would get reamed by this sort of system since they'd be paying up front, and the cost of failure for the drug companies (or any wanna-be drug companies - see in-licensing, above) would be minimal. I can think of another industry where they took all the risks and the government paid for them. That didn't work out too well.

    Personally, what I think is needed is a bigger FDA that has the time and manpower to seriously look at what the drug companies are really doing and a patent system that doesn't punish drug companies that decide to take some extra time to make sure things are as they appear at first blush. Right now we have a system that is long on minutia, requires you to fit your learnings to the inspection and audit timelines and will destroy you (or at least your profitability) if you miss any of these critical windows.
    posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:23 AM on February 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


    I like how the things that Mrs. Balisong claims would comfort her in the horrifying prospect of giving her children vaccinations are impossible. I'd do it if only you people could give me evidence that is by its nature completely unobtainable! I'd swear there must be a handbook for cranks about how to avoid science without seeming like you're avoiding science.

    Vaccines are not tested for safety against placebo

    Of course they're not. That would mean denying some people vaccines that are known to be effective, which is so stunningly unethical that the test would never, ever, in a billion years pass a human-subjects review committee.

    following the test subjects to check for reactions throughout their lives.

    Which means she won't be comfortable unless a scientist builds a time machine, goes back to the 1920s, and conducts such a test with vaccines that aren't available yet, or unless a scientist starts now and finishes sometime around 2100.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:43 AM on February 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


    Clearly, Balisong and his wife have done a lot of research and put a lot of thought into their children's medical decisions

    Nah. They seem like the sorts of parents who drive their kids 40 minutes on a busy freeway to get to the city park that is farthest from a registered sex offender because they're so worried about abduction.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:46 AM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


    You can not understand how terrifying it can be to have your child injected with something that should protect them against something they will never likely come into contact with but that could kill them, small chance, yet real.

    You must shit bloody great bricks every time you load them into the car and pull out of the driveway. Compared to the risk of innoculation, taking your kids to school is to murder them.
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:46 AM on February 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


    So all I could gather from my father was that my paternal grandparents opposed vaccination on some sort of nebulous anti-government, anti-medical establishment, anti-something-or-other irrational reason.

    There was a great Andy Griffith show about this sort of thing. "The County Nurse".

    My dad, a child of the 50s, talks about things like this. There was always some kid in the neighborhood dying from some childhood disease. He uses it as a counterpoint to the constant drum of news stories about the cute kid from far away that has something bad happen to them, and how its a sign that the world is going to shit. When in reality, those things used to happen far more often. It just wasn't news when some kid died of whooping cough, because it happened all the time and was just part of life. Point being, things are better when the fact that some kid catches a disease is so rare that it's newsworthy.

    Along similar lines- I was born in 1975 and I'm pretty sure I was given whatever form of MMR was being used at the time. When I was 10 or so, I got the mumps. Let me tell you, it wasn't pleasant. I remember the look of surprise on the doctor's face- he remembers giving me the shot, and there I am with my face all swollen. He said "I think you have mumps!?!"

    balisong, mrs. balisong, there IS good information out there: MMR was developed because those diseases are bad news. The big evil drug companies didn't invent them to fatten their wallets, they invented them because the diseases were killing people. The autism "link" was *invented* by someone in order to sell his version of the vaccine. It caught on because autism is a mysterious disorder that has no known cause, and parents feel bad because their kids are different, and it comforts them in an odd way to believe that it was caused by something, instead of having to deal with the complex emotions. Further, it stuck because it happens that the MMR vaccine is given right around the same age as autism starts to be noticed in kids. But that's what we call a coincidence.

    There have been tons and tons of studies and meta studies that prove that the MMR vaccine has no effect of the incidence of autism. There have been NO studies that show a correlation, except for the ones done improperly. There's your good information.

    The risks to weigh are this: your kid could get a life-threatening disease. Or you could immunize them, and they probably won't. EVEN IF, in some hypothetical world, the MMR was shown to have some causation for autism, the benefit of immunization would still outweigh the risk. I think all but the most selfish parent would agree that given similar odds, they'd choose the risk of autism over MMR. I'd rather have a weird kid than a dead kid, even if it means a lot of extra work.

    Herd immunity does not work they way you think it does, by the way. Herd immunity works because of how diseases are communicable, and the time it takes between exposure and presentation of symptoms. Haven't you ever watched a Jerry Brukheimer movie? Or played minesweeper? The more people who are susceptible to a disease, the more others who will pick it up and spread it further. Herd immunity is about stopping epidemics first, and protecting the weaker members of the herd second. Vaccines aren't 100% effective, and that's the point. They merely give the body's immune system a head start at fighting the disease. If a bug gets in, the body can fight it more quickly and more effectively before a full on infection occurs. If a person is immunized and inhales a big gasp of infected air, they will get sick. The bugs are still fighting to get in and the immune system still fights the disease. What makes the vaccine effective is that the immune system can hopefully knock out the bugs at the entry point, and the individual just feels miserable for a few hours. But the important thing is, for a time, that individual will have the disease and expose others to it. By reducing the severity of the infection and the duration of the infection, this reduces the ability of the infected person to spread it to others. As time goes on, this reduces the raw number of bugs out in the wild to the point that the disease is so uncommon as to be eradicated. Like smallpox.

    Look at it this way. Suppose you have a classroom of 30 kids. Everyone but little Tommy was vaccinated, because he's is allergic to the vaccine. Now suppose little Jimmy's uncle comes back from the Congo and lays some Measles on him. He goes to school the next day, lousy with Measles bugs, and the kids who sit near him and who played with him get exposed. Luckily, Tommy sits on the other side of the room. Jimmy gets "a cold" and is out for a couple of days. Crisis averted. But suppose just one other kid in that room wasn't vaccinated? That kid did play with little Jimmy, and picks up the measles. Further, then he plays with Jimmy. A few days later, Jimmy, that kid, and all his unvaccinated siblings, and all the potentially unvaccinated people they came in contact with now start getting the Measles. The DEATH rate is 3 per 1000. Depending on how many unvaccinated kids get exposed, it starts to get likely one of them will die. Your decision to not vaccinate could well KILL some other parents' kid.

    So you are being pretty disengenuous when you take offense to someone wishing you kid dead, when your acts did the same thing. Not just words on a message board, but for realsies. There are real kids out there, maybe yours, who are at a higher risk of dying, because of your selfish decision.
    posted by gjc at 7:48 AM on February 17, 2009 [32 favorites]


    You know, following up from what Kid Charlemagne said, I am thinking about the issue of vaccine testing. When we were at St. Jude - which was for MONTHS - we learned they do a LOT of research, not just treatment. I know they researched different treatment efficacies AS WELL AS vaccine and immunological studies. In fact, I have a friend who worked there on these projects.
    posted by bunnycup at 7:57 AM on February 17, 2009


    Wait, what?

    You can't just explain the decapitated doctor by saying he got decapitated! How did it happen? Was it some fluke accident? Or was it some horrible murder case?

    I don't want to know the gruesome details, but I really want to know how someone manages to get decapitated in this age.
    posted by Ms. Saint at 7:57 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    On virus testing at St. Jude, for example: Testing bird flu virus, and FDA approval of part 2 of 3 of a St. Jude test on an HIV vaccine.
    posted by bunnycup at 8:00 AM on February 17, 2009


    My cousin (the doctor) was saying another thing they see are clusters of these diseases popping up again, because Jack Dumbass tells his neighbour that vaccines are evil, so they don't vaccinate their kids, and they tell their sister, who does the same, etc. And then all these kids end up getting some stupid Victorian disease.

    Also, gjc's comment is good.
    posted by chunking express at 8:09 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    A few days later, Jimmy, that kid, and all his unvaccinated siblings, and all the potentially unvaccinated people they came in contact with now start getting the Measles.

    Unvaccinated people... like most of those kids in the home school play group. Hmmmm. I think you're onto something...
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:11 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    this thread just got a booster shot! :D
    posted by cowbellemoo at 8:12 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    I don't want to know the gruesome details, but I really want to know how someone manages to get decapitated in this age.

    The man said, "Keep your head, and arms, inside the Mixer at all times." But Bill Jr, he was a DAAAREDEVIL, just like his old man!
    posted by electroboy at 8:13 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

    Little Grace died in the fall. She was a beautiful little girl. But she only lived a little over two years. She died of polio and she suffered. She had a slight fever for a couple of days, but it didn't seem like anything and we just kept her in bed. And we would certainly have called the doctor, but the fever dropped, she seemed to be all right. So we thought it had just been a cold. Then, one day, she was up, playing, Isabel was in the kitchen fixing lunch for the two boys when they'd come in from school, and she heard Grace fall down in the living room. When you have a lot of children you don't always start running when one of them falls, unless they start screaming or something. And, this time, Gracie was quiet. Yet, Isabel says that when she heard that thump and then that silence, something happened to her to make her afraid. And she ran to the living room and there was little Grace on the floor, all twisted up, and the reason she hadn't screamed was that she couldn't get her breath. And when she did scream, it was the worst sound, Isabel says, that she'd ever heard in all her life, and she still hears it sometimes in her dreams. Isabel will sometimes wake me up with a low, moaning, strangling sound and I have to be quick to awaken her and hold her to me and where Isabel is weeping against me seems a mortal wound. -- James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues
    And I read that and was happy Polio is not something many people need to be afraid of anymore.
    posted by chunking express at 8:18 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Chickenpox vaccine is known to be effective for only 10 years or so.

    This is wrong. Varicella vaccination were shown to be effective for at least twenty years.

    Unfortunately, while for most children chickenpox is a mild illness (which grants LIFELONG immunity), adult cases of chickenpox are deadly serious.

    I had a "mild" case of chickenpox as a child. I can't remember being more miserable in my entire life. In cases that are not "mild," pediatric chickenpox can result in cerebellitis, encephalitis, meningitis, central facial palsy, superinfection of the skin, pyogenic arthritis, osteomyelitis, necrotizing fasciitis, orbital cellulitis, pneumonia and death. And, as you know, childhood infection definitely can result in shingles later in life.

    Why are we immunizing children against a mild disease, only to leave them vulnerable to a life-threatening one when the vaccine wears off?

    I have not seen any evidence that the vaccine wears off, or that people are left vulnerable to a life-threatening disease afterwards.

    Further, there have been cases of shingles in children who had the chickenpox vaccine. Shingles is extremely painful and was previously an adult condition, caused by latent virus in the body after having chickenpox as a child.

    Wrong again. Shingles can occur even in otherwise healthy children. Shingles symptoms are seen more commonly in children with natural infection than in immunized children.

    You really ought to consider your sources more carefully, as they often seem to be giving you incomplete information.
    posted by grouse at 8:18 AM on February 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


    Finally, to clear up misinformation that seems to be going around, we have not kept our kids away from medical care.

    Mrs. Balisong, people have gotten this impression because your husband stated:
    Both my kids were homebirthed, and have never been to see a doctor in their lives.
    posted by yohko at 8:38 AM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


    The people who have been providing Balisong with relevant information in this thread and the other are helping. Ultimately, there's no reason for Balisong to do something he thinks is wrong, but providing more evidence of the benefit of vaccination is going to help him make the most rational choice possible.

    Those who wish to drive by and snipe comments for a laugh or for their ego end up making so much noise that it kills any hope of a signal getting through. I understand that this is the internet and that signal:noise is often skewed heavily but it'd be nice in situations like this for those people who only wish to point out their superiority would keep their traps shut. It makes threads like these so hard to consume and ends up drowning out those who can shed light on things.
    posted by David Fleming at 8:45 AM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


    I think it's great that Balisong's wife took the time and effort to write out such a long, thoughtful explanation of her decision. We should at least respect that she is trying to explain her reasoning.

    How is that? Would you respect a parent who came here and explained why they let their children drive drunk?
    posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:45 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    David Fleming, no one is going to change their opinion on vaccination because of a MetaTalk thread.
    posted by chunking express at 8:51 AM on February 17, 2009


    You can't just explain the decapitated doctor by saying he got decapitated! How did it happen? Was it some fluke accident? Or was it some horrible murder case?

    Well, we do live in Jeffrey Dahmer country... but no, it was a really hardcore auto accident, if I remember correctly. My mother says that even as a teensy tiny tot I HATED this guy. And we're talking regular checkups, not even -- WAIT FOR IT -- vaccination shots or anything. I am told I snuck behind the potted plant in his office and peed on the floor, even. Which, for reasons previously stated, my mother found absolutely hilarious.

    We didn't have such a good time with pediatricians, really. The next one told my mother I was allergic to our then dog (I'm not). Mom said: "Well, the dog was here first, I guess we have to get rid of the kid." Laugh riot, my mother.
    posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:51 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    David Fleming, no one is going to change their opinion on vaccination because of a MetaTalk thread.

    Further, Balisong's wife admits she's aware of vaccine research, but discounts it because it was performed by drug companies. It doesn't matter what facts you present to somebody like that, they will discount it immediately because of its sourcing. So, it's sort of hopeless. As others have said, it is an emotional/political/personal thing, not a facts/reason/science thing. Approaching it from the facts angle won't work when it's really some weird bundle of emotions and paranoia that is causing the suspicion to vaccinations.
    posted by billysumday at 8:59 AM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


    I was born in '75. I remember when I was a kid my mother telling me that I was given every vaccination going even though 'there was a risk or brain damage'. So, even back then in the UK at least, there was a rumor going around the vaccines, most likely the MMR, could do some irreparable damage to a baby's brain. Irregardless of peer reviewed studies (even though they're obviously the best and only reliable source of scientific information) time itself has proven this to be wrong.
    posted by ob at 9:02 AM on February 17, 2009


    I don't floss because nobody can prove to me that it doesn't cause herpes.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 9:08 AM on February 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


    Hepatitis B is a disease transmitted by unprotected sex and needle-sharing, through the blood.

    No. It's transmitted through contact with infected blood and semen. Such contact includes unprotected sex and needle-sharing, but also contact through other poorly sanitized sharps (e.g. dental equipment, manicure/pedicure tools, tattoo equipment, acupuncture needles, surgical tools, etc.) or contemporaneous sports injuries that break the skin.

    The little darlings may not grow up to be sluts or junkies. But:

    The person in charge of sterilizing equipment at the hospital or dentist's office can make a mistake. The little darlings may even share toothbrushes with someone and contract Hep B via bloody gums.

    The spa that someone goes to for a little Mommy-Daughter bonding could have poor hygiene practices. Ditto the place the kids go to for their first rebellious tattoo or piercing behind Mommy and Daddy's backs. Double-ditto the acupuncturist that the kid gets taken to for their earaches, instead of relying on Evil Standard Medicine.

    The little darlings could catch it by giving it 110% on the soccer field and accidentally running into someone skinned-knee to skinned-knee.
    posted by CKmtl at 9:15 AM on February 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


    I'm always fascinated to see the paranoid mindset at work.
    posted by Bookhouse at 9:17 AM on February 17, 2009


    ob, The riskier jab in the 1970s was the Whole Cell Pertussis vaccine, whose 0.0007% risk of severe neurological problems (thanks wikipedia!) was why I wasn't dosed with it. After developed countries moved to the acellular (cleaner) prep for pertussis, around 1992, those concerns diminished. Then the focus shifted to MMR.
    So I wouldn't say that the concerns with pertussis were proven wrong, there were real, however small risks, and the vaccine was improved to diminish them.
    I might guess that the improvements in the MMR vaccine are similarly driven. If you can reduce the risk of complications, you can increase the compliance rate with nervous parents. There's always a risk of some allergic complications etc, but improving your numbers when reasoning with patients can't hurt.
    posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:23 AM on February 17, 2009


    "Those who wish to drive by and snipe comments for a laugh or for their ego end up making so much noise that it kills any hope of a signal getting through."

    A little public shaming is good in this case. Metafilter will never convince a Klan member not to hate black people and Jews, but it might remind them that false ideas are just not compatible with living in a modern society.

    And if Balisong wasn't joking when he said he's never taken his kids to a doctor, then shame on him and his wife for being horrible parents.
    posted by bardic at 9:44 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]

    I don't want to know the gruesome details, but I really want to know how someone manages to get decapitated in this age.
    There can be only one!
    posted by Flunkie at 10:19 AM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


    David Fleming, no one is going to change their opinion on vaccination because of a MetaTalk thread.

    I absolutely disagree. I agreed with Balisong to some extent at the start of this whole thing (more skeptic than conspiricist), however I've had a bit of an awakening on the subject. I'll be more prepared when the time comes to make a choice about my own children's health. I'm rather grateful for those who posted information here.

    As others have said, it is an emotional/political/personal thing, not a facts/reason/science thing. Approaching it from the facts angle won't work when it's really some weird bundle of emotions and paranoia that is causing the suspicion to vaccinations.

    The original thread isn't about Balisong's opinion on the matter. It's quite appropriate to provide counter arguments to the idea that vaccinations cause more problems than they prevent.

    The MetaTalk thread is a response to people who took his opinion and used it as an opportunity to vent. The rejection of reason on the part of Balisong doesn't really validate the response to him that his children should die. That's fairly well agreed upon.

    If facts and reason don't work, that doesn't really give the green light to make as much noise as is possible. It makes the whole lot of us look a little harpy and those people who provided good resources for others who are neutral or a little biased on the issue will be lost in the rest of the crap.

    I'm not disputing the fact that it looks like Balisong likely won't choose differently but there are others who are not as set in their ways as he is and those people are not likely to sift through 300 comments about eating placenta, sucking vaccine out of your arm and how idiots depress you aren't helping to counter what seems to be a dangerous opinion on the subject of kids' health.
    posted by David Fleming at 10:23 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    And this is why I have repeatedly said that people should not self-diagnose, reach medical conclusions, or otherwise think they know more than their doctor. Professionals spend their life learning and thinking about things. You reading some book and doing some google-reading does not put you on the ground to make decisions that are contrary to their advice or without consulting their advice.

    Getting information is good. But you, as a lay person, will never have enough info to make the decisions on your own. You will never know if there is a giant piece of the puzzle you are missing because you will know what the entire puzzle is. Sure, get the information so you can work with a professional and be knowledgeable about what they are telling you. But do not ever presume to know as much as the professional or that you don't need them because you have some information.

    I always remember the line about Socrates being smart because he knew what he did not know.

    That's the problem with lay people making decisions about things like medical health without consulting the advice of doctors. Doctors know more than you. If they all say X and you say not X, you can be virtually certain that you are wrong. Yeah, they are not perfect and can make errors in judgment, but you are infinitely more likely to be making an error in judgment.

    It pains me to see someone avoiding qualified advice because of some half- (or less-) formed belief that the doctor is wrong based on some lay-reading of information.
    posted by dios at 10:24 AM on February 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


    The last sentence of my post is a great argument for another cup of coffee. My apologies.
    posted by David Fleming at 10:25 AM on February 17, 2009


    "If they all say X and you say not X, you can be virtually certain that you are wrong."

    I disagree. I have two specific examples that contradict this. People should absolutely self-diagnose in the interests of making informed health decisions, but then their initial guesswork should be presented to those with education and experience (doctors) and the subsequent info given by said experts should be weighted accordingly.

    This doesn't even really apply here, though, because people can and should make decisions about their own medical care - but this uproar is about decisions that will affect others (children, immunosuppressed).
    posted by HopperFan at 10:31 AM on February 17, 2009


    This is an issue which has brought together Blazecock Pileon and dios. Truly this thread must be the Messiah.
    posted by Pope Guilty at 10:37 AM on February 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


    I disagree. I have two specific examples that contradict this.

    Of course you do. Because there are exceptions to every rule. I'm talking about a general operating principle here. And if you think you are correct against the great weight of medical evidence, I would like that it is a near certainty that you are wrong. That doesn't mean you may not be. But it is rare.

    The problem with medical information (like legal information) is that people read and use it improperly. Use it to be a partner in your health care and to understand the issues involved. Don't use it to think that, "Hey, I don't need all the schooling, training and experience that gal has; I read an article in a forum so I'm sure I know all I need to know to disregard that professional advice!"

    Because odds are you are going to get people like Ms. Balisong and not the junior lay-House who is able to correctly diagnose the problem when the other doctors got it wrong.
    posted by dios at 10:39 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    posted by Balisong We have chosen to err on the side of caution while we take the time and make the effort to educate ourselves.

    You have chosen to misinform yourselves by ignoring science, facts, and logic while you gather data that supports your views and disregarding the data that does not.
    posted by mattdidthat at 10:46 AM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Dios, I think comparing laypeople self-diagnosing to the issue of parents who refuse to vaccinate is apples to oranges. In the latter, they're going up against piles of medical evidence, whereas in the former, the situation isn't always as clear.
    posted by HopperFan at 10:48 AM on February 17, 2009


    I had all three, M, M and R (the diseases not the vaccinations) and none killed me. I also survived seat-beltless autos with metal dashboards and riding bicycles without helmets. I vaccinated my kids, used car seats etc. but, I think people worry way too much about things that have a rather minuscule chance of doing them or their kids injury. If all these things were so dangerous there wouldn't be any kids to worry about cause the human race would already be extinct.
    posted by Carbolic at 10:55 AM on February 17, 2009


    This thread really isn't about me.

    ...so I started a new one that is about me! Hey everybody, I am Balisong, look at me look at me lookatme!!!!!
    posted by LarryC at 10:58 AM on February 17, 2009


    but, I think people worry way too much about things that have a rather minuscule chance of doing them or their kids injury.

    No you don't. If you did, you wouldn't bother with the immunizations/car seats.
    posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:09 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    There is no exception to the rule that there are exceptions to every rule.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 11:09 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    ...I think people worry way too much about things that have a rather minuscule chance of doing them or their kids injury. If all these things were so dangerous there wouldn't be any kids to worry about cause the human race would already be extinct.

    That chance is minuscule because we have vaccinations against those diseases. Your argument appears to be that we shouldn't worry, it's okay if rates of infection and death go up...just as long as they don't get too big. Which is not a terribly good argument.

    Also, you've survived without seatbelts and helmets, but millions have not. The problem with anecdotal evidence is that it's anecdotal evidence.
    posted by middleclasstool at 11:12 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    The antibodies in yummy mummy only protect the kid for six months

    Bullshit. I said, bullshit.

    That is all.
    posted by lysdexic at 11:13 AM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Wait, so if Balisong is Balisong and LarryC is Balisong then who is cortex? The voices are coming from inside the house etc.
    posted by ob at 11:16 AM on February 17, 2009


    YOUR CHILDREN WILL DIE!
    (someone had to do it.)
    posted by cjorgensen at 11:17 AM on February 17, 2009


    Whooping cough in the wild.
    posted by caddis at 11:17 AM on February 17, 2009


    I presume that parents not vaccinating their children have actually been vaccinated themselves (or does this run in families.) So, conceivably, they could catch measles, for example, and not be really affected by it because they've been vaccinated but pass it on to their children who get sick because they haven't given their children the same concern as their parents gave them.
    posted by ob at 11:23 AM on February 17, 2009


    We have chosen to err on the side of caution

    Really? Because as gjc says:
    I'd rather have a weird kid than a dead kid, even if it means a lot of extra work.

    What does caution dictate here?
    posted by juv3nal at 11:31 AM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Wait, so if Balisong is Balisong and LarryC is Balisong then who is cortex?

    Pedobear. Try to keep up.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 11:43 AM on February 17, 2009


    A data point:

    I was born in 1963. When I grew up here in the Netherlands vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella wasn't common practice. Getting these diseases was considered part of being a kid and, to be fair, most kids seemed to get over these diseases in a couple of weeks or so without complications. I remember several occasions when a minor epidemic of one of these diseases was going around, and I and maybe one or to classmates were the only ones out of a class of 25-30 pupils who weren't home sick.

    For some reason I never caught mumps or measles as a young kid, not even when everyone else in my class had it. Measles caught up with me when I was 15. I ended up getting pneumonia and being severely ill for six months. According to what I read on the web the last measles epidemic here in the Netherlands was in 1999. Over 3,000 children got sick, of whom 150 had to be hospitalised and 3 died. I've seen a mortality rate of 1 in 1,000 mentioned in several places, though this may be based on this one epidemic. Every study that I've read about indicates that vaccination drastically reduces the chance of contracting the disease.

    Having grown up with these diseases being considered a normal part of childhood, I find it hard to muster any strong feelings about vaccination one way or the other. What I would like to emphasise is that measles, mumps and rubella are real diseases with proven, real-life consequences. There are real risks to weigh against the risks of vaccination.
    posted by rjs at 11:51 AM on February 17, 2009


    grouse, you quoted a 15 year old study, and there is more recent research that appears to contradict it (for various interpretations of the word contradict). I know nothing about this topic, all I did was a sanity check, but your response lacked depth.
    (as for wikipedia on this topic.. it seems to be confused)

    Kid Charlemagne: So we should charge the tax payers? I'm not sure how many companies are doing clinical work these days, but I know our R&D budget is over 7 billion of which clinical testing is the lion's share. Making some guesses and doing some math, I'm going to say that our clinical work is $10 per person in the US. Now add in all the other companies doing testing. Oh, and add in all the small time operators who would churn out whatever they could, in hopes that something would stick. (Hint: the phrase, "In-License" makes my blood run cold.)

    Don't be ridiculous. Government funding for all the "vanity" drugs you guys create would be absurd. Government funding of research into government mandated drugs though? That seems like a very reasonable idea to me.
    posted by Chuckles at 12:01 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Pedobear. Try to keep up.

    Sorry! Is this on the wiki now?
    posted by ob at 12:16 PM on February 17, 2009


    Damn, Chuckles.
    posted by lysdexic at 12:48 PM on February 17, 2009


    While I think Balisong and his wife have made a horrible mistake and, while I hope that they never have cause to regret their decision, decisions about the health of children are the absolute right of their parents to make and I respect that they have given the matter considerable thought. When the time came to start vaccinations for my younger children, the whole "vaccinations cause autism" scare was in full swing, so we did lots of research and, in the end, the anti-vaccination case simply didn't stand up for us. We spent several months researching quite intensely, including consulting with two doctors whose opinions we trust absolutely. In the end, we followed the herd not because it seemed like the right thing or out of blind trust in "the system", but because we felt that the case for vaccination was so much stronger than the opposing case. In the end, there was really no choice - the minuscule risk was more than worth the much greater risk of disease.

    It's the choice of the parents in the end, right or wrong. Nobody should feel they are required to have a medical procedure carried out on their child without questioning how necessary it really is.

    Let's just hope their kids don't end up being the weak link in the chain that causes the new rise of the black plague.
    posted by dg at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2009


    Also, parents should absolutely have the right to set their kids on fire.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 12:52 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


    I've given the matter considerable thought, and as a parent, it's my choice to drive drunk and I shouldn't be required to buckle your kids into their car seats when it's my turn to drive carpool.
    posted by mattdidthat at 12:58 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I have been trying really hard not to make a reference to the Babylon 5 episode "Believers" but apparently I have just failed.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 12:58 PM on February 17, 2009


    I know mine did.
    posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:01 PM on February 17, 2009


    Also, you've survived without seatbelts and helmets, but millions have not.

    The main reason I'm interested in this topic comes from the public safety debates around seat belts, second hand smoke, and helmets (in particular bike helmets). See, I think that until the advent of shoulder straps, seat belts actually did more harm than good.

    But hey, a good public shaming is always fun.
    posted by Chuckles at 1:44 PM on February 17, 2009


    "Also, parents should absolutely have the right to set their kids on fire.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 12:52 PM on February 17 [1 favorite +]"

    What's the point of this, exactly? You've made similar comments earlier upthread.
    posted by HopperFan at 1:53 PM on February 17, 2009


    What's the point of this, exactly? You've made similar comments earlier upthread.

    Nope. I made a joke mocking the idea that anything can be said to cause anything, barring evidence that it does. This was a joke about parents having unlimited rights to make decisions for their children, regardless of how it effects their health.

    What was the point of you asking?
    posted by Astro Zombie at 1:57 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Anyone care to join me for a point?
    posted by found missing at 2:03 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    If all these things were so dangerous there wouldn't be any kids to worry about cause the human race would already be extinct.

    In theory, that's true - the risk of each danger is small. But, when you have lost a child to an unlikely cause, it won't make you feel better. The chance my daughter had of getting the Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumors (that killed her) was MUCH smaller than the chance of any of those things.

    I can't understand the viewpoint of NOT preventing a danger that, although the chances are slim, is easily preventable. I just CANNOT wrap my head around that, wearing both hats - a PARENT, and a parent who lost a child to an un-preventable disease.

    I am so deeply saddened by Balisong's wife's description - that they feel their "research" outweighs dominant medical opinion, when their research, as has been discussed, takes the form of anecdotal evidence, with no clinical trials backing it up, and books that reviewers have panned as nonsense. It is just, honestly, mind-boggling. Even prior to having a child, I could not understand parents who chose NOT to reduce the list of "things that might kill my baby", and having a child only STRENGTHENED my conviction to take all humane efforts to preserve children from harm.
    posted by bunnycup at 2:11 PM on February 17, 2009 [16 favorites]


    Metatalk: Pointed comments and commented points.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:27 PM on February 17, 2009


    Spend more time with Ted, damnit. Don't you think he gets sad? WUR IS UR SHAM?
    posted by nola at 2:37 PM on February 17, 2009


    I'm talking about your method of responding, not what you were responding to, specifically.

    "I want to live in a free nation where I can give my children loaded handguns and send them out into the playground."

    "I got a tetanus booster a few weeks ago, but your compelling argument has caused me to cut open my arm and try to draw the fluids back out."

    "I don't floss because nobody can prove to me that it doesn't cause herpes."

    It's pretty repetitive hyperbole, so I wondered what your motivation was. More favorites, perhaps?
    posted by HopperFan at 2:47 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Point taken.
    posted by fixedgear at 2:48 PM on February 17, 2009


    They're offering reductio ad absurdums, Hopperfan. Someone says, "not vaccinating your kids is okay, because you have the right to decide what to do with your kids." Then someone response with "Oh, so I'll go give my kids handguns." We all know that it is NOT acceptable for a parent to give their kid loaded handguns and send them into a playground, but this would seem to follow from the previous claim (that parents can decide what to do with their kids, full-stop). It's a way of saying, "your justification for your claims is faulty because it would also justify this obviously non-justifiable claim."

    Or, at least, some of the comments you're discussing are. I don't know why you've grouped the tetanus booster comment in with the others.
    posted by Ms. Saint at 2:56 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    But hey, a good public shaming is always fun.

    I'm not sure how you inferred "public shaming" from my response to his logic above, but okay.
    posted by middleclasstool at 3:06 PM on February 17, 2009


    I'm well aware of what a reductio ad absurdam argument is, as MeFi commenters love to throw around accusations of logical fallacies. It's an easy and weak way to argue against something, and rarely is convincing by itself. In this case, Balisong is past convincing, but there may be other people reading, and that kind of "argument" just creates noise.

    The tetanus comment is more of the same. Snarky noise.

    I had some vague idea of AstroZombie of being well-spoken and thoughtful, from reading past comments of his - so it seems like a writer would be able to make his point a bit better, in this situation. But what do I know? Carry on.
    posted by HopperFan at 3:17 PM on February 17, 2009


    reductio ad absurdum isn't a fallacy. It's perfectly valid to show that the opponent's premise leads to a result that's obvious nonsense. This isn't evidence of a flaw in your argument; it's evidence of a problem with your opponent's premise.

    Or, it's evidence that your opponent's actual premise is not the better-sounding one they're spouting at the moment. Ie, nobody actually believes that parents have or should have that authority over their children, and the reductio ad absurdum exposes that lie.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:32 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    A reductio ad absurdum is actually a pretty dang strong way to argue for a specific view.. Or, more accurately, for the negation of a specific view. (No need to put the word argument in quotes -- a reductio ad absurdum most definitely is an argument, no question).

    Also, they can be funny. I like the funny.
    posted by Ms. Saint at 3:36 PM on February 17, 2009


    The Hep B vaccine is routinely given to all newborns in hospitals on the day they are born. Hepatitis B is a disease transmitted by unprotected sex and needle-sharing, through the blood. This vaccine appears to be a cash cow for the drug companies, since no newborn I ever met was really into the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll scene. If the mother doesn’t have it, the baby is not at risk for it.

    Because I know the first thing someone says when they first go off the rails is "You know what? I think I'll get addicted to Heroin today. But I better make sure I'm vaccinated against Hep B first!"
    posted by Talez at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2009


    Perhaps I should have said that Mefi-ers like to throw around Latin terms, then. I don't really care if it's a fallacy, an argument, or a banana. It's of little use here, and I don't think I'm the only one who finds it tedious. You think it's funny, so enjoy.
    posted by HopperFan at 3:42 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    And having said that, I think I'm done with this thread. The only other times I've ever seen such vitriol and frothing at the mouth was in other forum "discussions" involving child cry it out vs. pick them up theories, breastfeeding, and the rights of bicyclists vs. motorists. Just something else to add to my "avoid at all costs" list.
    posted by HopperFan at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I have been trying really hard not to make a reference to the Babylon 5 episode "Believers" but apparently I have just failed.

    A little knowledge of geek culture is a dangerous thing.
    posted by Sparx at 3:55 PM on February 17, 2009


    I don't really care if it's a fallacy, an argument, or a banana.

    Equivocation!
    posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:09 PM on February 17, 2009


    (which I, of course, I mean metaphorically about the whole damn thread)
    posted by Sparx at 4:12 PM on February 17, 2009


    Sorry kuujjuarapik, didn't see you there.
    posted by Sparx at 4:14 PM on February 17, 2009


    Fallacy of the excluded kuujjuarapik?
    posted by Drastic at 4:16 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Hoisted by my own kuujjuarapik
    posted by Sparx at 4:19 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    And having said that, I think I'm done with this thread... Just something else to add to my "avoid at all costs" list.

    BYE THEN!
    posted by game warden to the events rhino at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    HopperFan: "Perhaps I should have said that Mefi-ers like to throw around Latin terms, then."

    The Latin terms are useful when talking about logical fallacies, forms of argument, etc, because they are the agreed upon names for them. These terms came to be because faulty logic is extremely common and repetitious. Humans will always find new, fascinating ways to be illogical, but for the most part these lapses are based on the same forms of shitty reasoning that have been around since the very first arguments. The terms are shorthand. Which is quicker: saying someone's argument is an example of a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy—one that comes up often when discussing the vaccine-causes-autism crowd—or opting not to use the term and explaining what it means in verbose detail?

    Is it that they're Latin terms? I mean, if the person you're addressing doesn't know what these terms mean, using them is less effective, sure—know your audience and all that—but, yo, we're on the interwebs and looking up what something means is only a Google search away. [Unfortunate aside, though: the first search for autism vaccine appears to be an anti-vaccination site. Bummer.]

    With that said, I'm not about the child-death-lulz as a means of making a point; I'm not referring to AZ here, but the others who would wish death upon children (who have no say in the matter) as a means of making their parents feel like shit for being poisonous idiots. I really think that the anti-vaccination movement is ridiculous and based in ignorance, distrust of science and/or, and emotional stubbornness. Was it really that asshole Wakefield who started it all, or did that just help it gain traction? Have any prominent spokespeople for the anti-vaccination movement said mea culpa?
    posted by defenestration at 4:24 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    distrust of science and/or authority*
    posted by defenestration at 4:26 PM on February 17, 2009


    One thing that I can't believe that only I have (in passing) mentioned is the complete erradication of smallpox by vaccine.

    When choosing to vaccinate children from diseases that to us, seem incidental, remember that one time these diseases were epidemics. The one, the ONLY, disease that we have completely erradicated as of the 1970s is smallpox.

    Smallpox is about as horrible a disease as you can imagine. Painful. High mortality rate. Extremely contagious. Smallpox epidemics were commonplace and extremely dangerous until vaccines were developed. The smallpox vaccine itself is risky, but an entire generation of parents chose to give it to their children because the disease itself was far, far deadlier. These were parents who had seen the effects of the disease and were willing to take a small risk to try and stop it in its tracks.

    The Speckled Monster is a wonderful, wonderful book (though NSFS: not safe for the squeamish) about smallpox outbreaks in the 18th century and the battles to create effective vaccines. If you think this stuff is done to make money, the first guy making smallpox vaccines was using cowpox and a test group of milkmaids. I can guarantee you that he made no money from this. This is the basis for the science still used for vaccines today. Not "big pharma" but a guy who discovered that women who had been exposed to cowpox were immune to smallpox outbreaks and decided to see if he could recreate that immunity in others without the middle-man of the cow.

    We never think about smallpox because no one gets it anymore. No one gets it anymore because it was erradicated SOLELY DUE TO VACCINATION. This was possible not thanks to a drug company or a government, but a world wide effort on the part of doctors and parents - WORLD WIDE - to put an end to a fatal disease by creating total immunity and thus ceasing all human transmission.

    If we continue to vaccinate our children (with vaccines that have, obviously, been FDA approved - a process which is quite stringent) then perhaps HepB, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diptheria, and others can be added to this list.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:27 PM on February 17, 2009 [14 favorites]


    Guess what, every argument can be reduced to absurdity.

    My whole neighborhood got vaccinated, and we're going to live happily here forever and ever and never die.

    Pointless.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 4:40 PM on February 17, 2009


    Guess what, every argument can be reduced to absurdity.

    My whole neighborhood got vaccinated, and we're going to live happily here forever and ever and never die.

    Pointless.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 7:40 PM on February 17


    Judging by your example, I don't think you understand what reductio ad absurdum means. You're confusing it with a straw man argument. The idea is that, for example, you demonstrate that the person you disagree with has expressed a justification for their position that embraces something extreme. You point that out in order to attempt to make them draw the line somewhere and justify that.

    So, here, someone says something like "parents decide what is best for their kids"

    You think, hmm, that's not true. I know sometimes, we force parents to make the decisions we think are necessary and override their preferences.

    So you say, "by your logic, parents should be free to decide to let their kids drive drunk"

    The expectation is that the other person will realize that it is not a good idea to let parents decide that their kids can drive drunk. This will lead the person you're speaking with to clarify where they draw the line - where does parental authority end and societal authority begin?

    And that's the real issue anyway.

    That's the best case scenario for a reductio ad absurdum argument. The key is, it's actually true that the other person's logic justifies an absurd result. And that's bad.
    posted by prefpara at 4:50 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


    I understand reductio ad absurdum arguments. But reducing someone's argument to an absurd argument is not a very persuasive argumentation technique. When the reductio ad absurdum actually contradicts the original argument, as many of the one's being discussed here do (e.g., an argument saying "I'll drive drunk" in response to an argument that says, "Laws govern society") then it's just pointless.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 5:00 PM on February 17, 2009


    This talk of logical fallacies misses the point, I think; HopperFan seemed to be irritated with the insubstantial snarkiness of several of AstroZombie's little ploplets. They don't seem to be motivated by a desire to convince anyone, unlike (say) longer comments that combine these pretty obvious objections with bigger positive claims or suggestions. They seem, rather, to be motivated by AstroZombie being impressed with his own wit.

    I understand that; I feel it too. I like pith. But this thread was substantive and serious a hundred comments ago, and AZ didn't contribute to that mood at all. Then the thread went to shit. Correlation and not causation, etc., but perhaps you see why HopperFan was annoyed?
    posted by waxbanks at 5:09 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    No, you don't reduce someone's argument to an absurd argument. Instead, it shows an absurdity (like a contradiction) inherent to one's view.

    The form of a reductio ad absurdum (or "indirect argument" if you hate Latin.. I always forget this name for it) is as follows: "My philosophic opponent claims that X is true. Let us assume that X is true. If X is true, then Y must also be true. But we know that Y is false. Since Y cannot be both true and false, it must be the case that my philosophic opponent's theory is incorrect."

    All the reductios being offered in this thread (or, at least, which I originally saw when starting this) were examining the claim that parents should be allowed to keep their kids from being vaccinated because parents should be allowed to do what they want to their kids.

    So, the argument is the following: "You say that parents should be allowed to do what they want to their kids. Let us assume this is true. If parents should be allowed to do what they want to their kids, this means that parents should be allowed to send their kids with loaded guns to playgrounds. But we know that parents should NOT be allowed to send their kids with loaded guns to playgrounds. Since it cannot both be true and false that parents should be allowed to send their kids with loaded guns to playgrounds, it must be the case that your theory is incorrect."

    What this shows is that the claim, "parents should be allowed to do what they want to their kids," is false.

    Now, this does not prove that no justification for allowing parents to keep their kids from being vaccinated is possible. It just shows that this very specific type of justification cannot be correct.
    posted by Ms. Saint at 5:09 PM on February 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


    Arg:If you don't want your kid anywhere near an unvaccinated child, ever, feel free to move to a totalitarian nation that mandates and enforces childhood vaccination for all residents and visitors and stay there.

    Attempted Reductio ad absurdum: I want to live in a free nation where I can give my children loaded handguns and send them out into the playground.

    FAIL.

    It's a long thread. But if you want to defend that indirect argument, we'll have to disagree about formal logic.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 5:18 PM on February 17, 2009


    What is the Latin for this guy is a troll?
    posted by defenestration at 5:21 PM on February 17, 2009


    Reductio ad absurdum is not any latin fancypantism, it is a notion about the form of the argument, and it gets used a lot because even when we talk about vaccinations, children, cars, politics, religion or pop culture, arguments have all similar structures like defenestration said.

    The problematic argument was of this form:
    If parents decide that X is best for their kids, then X should be accepted.
    X = not getting vaccinated

    And Astro Zombie replaced X with:
    X' = drunken driving

    As a result original argument was deemed absurd, because drunken driving should not become accepted because parents decide so. X was replaced with something that helps us to notice that argument in this form does not give acceptable results.

    McGuillicuddy's argument was not at all similar:
    If we do X, then we do Y
    X= vaccinate
    Y= not get sick
    Y' = live forever

    Here replacing Y with Y' has no effect on X and the argument just becomes a whole different argument, which can be true or false independent from the original, and as such doesn't make any point about the original.
    posted by Free word order! at 5:36 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


    McGuillicuddy is spot on. the reductio ad absurdum arguments are merely absurd, there is no reduction in most of them, just absurdism. That's fine. It's a mefi tradition to just spout funny nonsense.
    posted by caddis at 5:44 PM on February 17, 2009


    Here's where I set myself up for abuse, but I'll say it anyway.

    Sorry, but your mindbogglingly stupid decision to not vaccinate, against all real-world evidence saying you should...

    A few years ago, when all this stuff about vaccines and autism happened, my kids had just been born. This put us in a position I wasn't happy about: do we ignore the discussion and do what we had been planning to do, or do we educate ourselves as best we can and try to make a rational choice based on that?

    We chose to educate ourselves, and ultimately decided to hold off on vaccinating our kids until they were at least two years old, when the blood-brain barrier closes and supposedly the risks are lower. We will also be paying more to get the single-use vaccines instead of the multi-use ones that have more mercury-based preservative.

    Were we being selfish when we made this decision? Of course! Having children is a very selfish thing to do, and taking a "eh, I'm sure it'll be fine, it's all smoke and no substance" attitude to vaccination/autism links a few years ago was a risk I wasn't willing to take. After all, how many times have medicines that were presented as good for us ultimately been shown to cause harm?

    Case in point: I have a brother-in-law much younger than me who was put on a medicine for depression that gave him sudden-onset juvenile diabetes and almost killed him. When he was given the meds, people were just starting to talk about the link, but his doctor prescribed it anyway, and his father elected to ignore the potential link. Now it's been proven, and there are lawsuits-a-plenty. Meanwhile, my brother-in-law will be testing his blood sugar several times a day for the rest of his life.

    Another: when my father was starting to suffer from Lewy-body Dementia (but they didn't quite know what he had yet) his doctor put him on an anti-anxiety medication that not only increased his anxiety, but has since been shown to cause addictive behavior (like sexual addiction and gambling addiction) that, as it manifested in my not-quite-all-there father, really made it difficult for him to be taken care of. At the time, of course, they didn't know about the connection -- and now that they do, that same drug is still available to cure "restless leg syndrome"(!) complete with television ads suggesting that you don't take it if you have issues with sexual addiction or gambling addiction. Madness.

    So I don't necessarily disagree with a lot of the sentiment here regarding bailsong's attitude and reasoning, but please realize: everyone who takes a contrarian position is considered an idiot, unless it turns out to be the right decision, then they're considered to be visionary. While all this stuff shakes itself out, parents have to do the best they can. The choice to delay treatment that may or may not cause autism, at the cost of a temporary but real risk of increasing exposure to uncommon but serious illness, is not one lightly made. The fact that rarely the vaccine causes the very illness that is being vaccinated against is also something that must be taken into account.

    Or, to put it another way, which one would you choose to hear from your daughter for the rest of your life: "dad, why did you vaccinate [my son] when people were saying it's dangerous? it's your fault he has autism!" or "dad, why didn't you vaccinate [my son] when he was little? it's your fault he died from the measles!" Obviously the one where my son dies is the one nobody wants to hear; but if I can make a decision that avoids both, as a parent I'm going to make that decision.
    posted by davejay at 5:56 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    I was born in 1956. Because I was a child pretty much at the start of the vaccination revolution, I have only received polio, smallpox, and an ineffective measles vaccine. I, and every one of my contemporaries, suffered though the following diseases:

    Diphtheria
    Whooping cough
    Mumps
    Measles
    Chicken Pox
    Rubella

    How many people on this thread can say that? Not many, because you're all youngsters and received this wonderful medical boon. Mr. and Mrs. Balisong, have you had these diseases? Do you have any idea how miserable or dangerous they are? When you have diphtheria, they shove a straw or a tube down your throat so you can breathe. When you have measles, you cannot talk, hear or open your eyes. I still have facial scars from the chicken pox. Little boys used to be rendered sterile by mumps. When I was growing up, pregnant women who had not had rubella as a child lived in terror of every child they met-- I can recall being told, before I had German measles, that I could not be around Mrs. X or her children until the baby was born, because they couldn't be sure I hadn't been exposed to rubella.

    Yes, I have natural immunity to these diseases, yay me. I'd much rather not have spent a huge swath of my childhood suffering life threatening diseases.
    posted by nax at 6:02 PM on February 17, 2009 [29 favorites]


    Ms Saint and Free Word Order explain the reductio ad absurdem fallacy well - kudos for your patience, y'all.

    Davejay: "This stuff about vaccines and autism" equals a single study and a lot of hot air. We now now that the study was grieviously flawed, but even before then, anyone claiming to be investigating for themselves with any degree of confidence should be familiar enough with the scientific method to know that that a single study is not a valid argument - otherwise they are overly flattering themselves about their ability to judge research.

    That said, I completely take your point about wanting to err on the side of caution with your own offspring. In some ways it's unrealistic to expect parents to approach child risk with absolute rationality - there's a reason why 'think of the children' holds such argumentative power. But there does come a point where restraint becomes less an exercise in scepticism and more one in willful perversity, and I think that's where the criticism of Balisong stems from.
    posted by Sparx at 6:20 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Why specifically unprotected anal sex? Is this some sort of GRID throwback? Or an allusion to some sort of gay bias on MeFi?

    HIV doesn't only enter through the butt hole.


    Then what have I been wearing this plug for???
    posted by phearlez at 6:30 PM on February 17, 2009


    ...explain the reductio ad absurdem fallacy well...

    No, it's not a fallacy. It's a standard argument form. The point is to draw out of your opponent's view some claim which obviously contradicts an obviously true claim. So, you make it obvious that accepting your opponent's view requires accepting something obviously false. More formally, you make it obvious that accepting your opponent's view requires accepting a flat out contradiction (P and not-P). This is not a fallacy, or a mistake in reasoning. It is an acceptable argument form, and it often allows for extremely convincing arguments against certain positions.

    I don't know why I'm working so hard on this one. I guess it's just what one does. I'm not trying to be belligerent or anything.
    posted by Ms. Saint at 6:54 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    It will be a cold day in Hell before any government-funded WTC7-destroying vaccine-vaccinating so-called "medical" "doctors" with their so-called "evidence" and "data" and "facts" can force me to teach any Latin fancypantisms to my kids.
    posted by Flunkie at 6:55 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    What the fuck is up with the latin lesson? Seriously people, we can do better than being annoying and pedantic like those assholes on Slashdot.
    posted by chunking express at 6:59 PM on February 17, 2009


    Then what have I been wearing this plug for???

    Fun!
    posted by tkchrist at 7:00 PM on February 17, 2009


    McGuillicuidy, the only difficulty with that reductio ad absurdum example you don't like is the negating. Here are two equivalent sets of argument and reduction:

    1:
    Arg:If you don't want your kid anywhere near an unvaccinated child, ever, feel free to move to a totalitarian nation that mandates and enforces childhood vaccination for all residents and visitors and stay there.

    reductio ad absurdum without negation: If you don't want your kid anywhere near a kid with a loaded handgun, ever, feel free to move to a totalitarian nation that mandates and enforces gun control for all residents and visitors and stay there.


    2: Equivalent negated arg: I want to live in a free country where I can choose to leave my children unvaccinated and send them out into the playground. Any country that does not give me this freedom is totalitarian.

    Attempted Reductio ad absurdum: I want to live in a free nation where I can give my children loaded handguns and send them out into the playground. Any country that does not give me this freedom is totalitarian

    I don't see the logical fail here.
    posted by jacalata at 7:07 PM on February 17, 2009


    First vaccines, now rules of logic and argumentation.... In formal logic, reductio ad absurdum is when an argument is proved false by deriving a contradictory argument from the initial argument. An argument that leads to a mutually exclusive argument has been reduced to the absurd (unreasonable). It so happens, "reduced to the absurd" is the direct translation of the phrase.

    But that's not the type of argument anyone has proposed so far. They're using a loosey-goosey interpretation of reductio ad absurdum.

    So take the argument: EVERYONE MUST BE VACCINATED

    I haven't noticed any advocates for anarchy in this thread, only for ancient and natural parental right to control medical decisions of their offspring. So I counter-argue: "Not everyone must be vaccinated. I am the legal caregiver for my minor children, I'll decide when and whether to vaccinate". I have not discounted "the rule of law" (a constant framework of modern life). When you respond with "I'll drive drunk" and "I'll send my children to the playground with automatic weapons", you've not derived you're argument from mine, you've excluded a part of my argument entirely (humans have legal and moral rights and responsibilities). Hence that argument is not technically reductio ad absurdum, whether by strict or loose interpretations.

    My previous example takes the argument "Herd immunity leads to increased lifespan" and in loosey-goosey fashion counter-argues "Vaccination will not lead to immortality". Of course, it fails to disprove the very real benefits of vaccines. The example demonstrates this type of reductio ad absurdum is weak argumentation.

    The first argument is a strawman not reductio ad absurdum. The second intentionally shows the failure of this type of reductio ad absurdum. Both are pointless.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 7:14 PM on February 17, 2009


    I got measles before I could be vaccinated, and apparently suffered through hell because of it; my half-sister was born with a significant hole in her heart and with 5% hearing because her mother had rubella when she was pregnant; and every single boy in my partner's maternal family has some form of autism. The first two scenarios here are directly attributable to a lack of vaccination.

    I work with people with autism - probably 150 people throughout my career. I've had two sets of parents (of 150) tell me their child started displaying the behavioural symptoms of autism directly after vaccination. It breaks your heart, and it can be a very persuasive argument. But approximately 135 of the 150 had evidence or diagnosis of autism in their families - strong, emotional arguments should have no bearing on data

    My (future) children are very likely going to be autistic (if male), but it won't have been caused by vaccination. They, and I, won't have to fear for their lives due to pertussis, rubella and measles, though, even if they are autistic.
    posted by goo at 7:19 PM on February 17, 2009


    She told me to bring them in for a checkup every few years, and whenever they are sick (which, incidentally, occurs extremely rarely, given our lifestyle).

    To me, this line stuck out as the crux of the issue. There is an unspoken assumption here, that the Bailsong's actively lower their risk of illness due to some prescribed "lifestyle", which makes not having (or even needing!) vaccines a point of pride.
    posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 7:28 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    . I have not discounted "the rule of law"

    That's an error; you have discounted it in your second (tacit) premise. If your argument is ""Not everyone must be vaccinated. I am the legal caregiver for my minor children.. I'll decide when and whether to vaccinate"

    Then the argument is:

    I AM THE LEGAL CAREGIVER FOR MY CHILDREN
    [LEGAL CAREGIVERS HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER CHILDREN ARE VACCINATED]
    THEREFORE I'LL DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER TO VACCINATE"

    Then you've assumed the second premise, inserted that second statement tacitly - that's the statement that's open to challenge and that's why the challenges stand. That second premise is faulty. It's not always true, which means the conclusion is necessarily false unless it's conditional.

    Legal caregivers do not always have sole decision-making power about their children's health and safety under the rule of law. That is true of handguns and drunk driving and can be true of vaccination. The state can identify and claim an interest in the health and safety of a child that supercedes that of the parents', and does, often.
    posted by Miko at 7:33 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


    ... ancient and natural parental right to control medical decisions of their offspring.

    And several people, notably dios in all his lawyerhood, has noted that this 'right' is not limitless.

    I'd also be willing to bet that a survey of history would show that said 'right' is neither as ancient nor as natural as some might think.
    posted by CKmtl at 7:38 PM on February 17, 2009


    I AM THE LEGAL CAREGIVER FOR MY CHILDREN
    [LEGAL CAREGIVERS HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER CHILDREN ARE VACCINATED]
    THEREFORE I'LL DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER TO VACCINATE"

    Then you've assumed the second premise, inserted that second statement tacitly - that's the statement that's open to challenge and that's why the challenges stand. That second premise is faulty. It's not always true, which means the conclusion is necessarily false unless it's conditional.


    Cite?
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 7:41 PM on February 17, 2009


    I'm citing you.
    posted by Miko at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


    Shall we wait for dios in all his lawyerhood to provide us with the relevant case law pertaining specifically to vaccination?
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 7:43 PM on February 17, 2009


    You don't even have to get into gun control. The state can and has interfered with parents' 'right' to determine their own children's medicare care. In fact, you can have your children taken from you and be put in jail for medical neglect.

    Now, whether we're at the point with vaccines where that should be an option? I don't know. For some vaccines, I could certainly see the case for it.
    posted by empath at 7:45 PM on February 17, 2009


    To be clear,

    I AM THE LEGAL CAREGIVER FOR MY CHILDREN = True (though subject to the limits of law, so perhaps not always true when the state sees a need to relieve parents of this burden)
    [LEGAL CAREGIVERS HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER THEIR CHILDREN ARE VACCINATED] = False, because this is not always true; or True ONLY IF vaccination is not touched on by the rule of law as a matter of public or individual health or safety
    THEREFORE I DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER TO VACCINATE = False.

    It's just a flat-out invalid argument because both premises are not always true.
    posted by Miko at 7:51 PM on February 17, 2009


    CDC:
    School Immunization Laws
    Religious and Philosophical Objections
    Vaccine Exemption Forms by State

    You know, we really don't need to reach for arguments about handguns, etc., at all to demonstrate state interest in public health here. The fact that there are two states that don't allow exemptions from vaccinations, and every other state requires the filing of contesting paperwork in order to be granted exemption from vaccination, kind of shows that the default stance of the state is that it is in the state's interest to require vaccination, and that this interest overrides parents' preferences unless a formal judicial process is followed.
    posted by Miko at 8:07 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    I will continue to make jokes at the expense of people I think are close-minded and dangerous, because reason does not seem to work with them, and I do enjoy my own jokes, and think that is valid. If other people do not enjoy my jokes, and that is their prerogative, they may ignore them. I believe there is also a Firefox script that would render me invisible.

    But to question why I am making the jokes? What the point is?

    The same reason we are all here, I suspect. It's a way of communicating. Some like it, some don't. Sometimes I also find my own relentless jokiness annoying, but I also sometimes findthe shape of my forehead annoying, and so cannot be sure whether my self-criticisms are valid or just vanity.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 8:07 PM on February 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


    nax,

    I agree with your general point, but some of the diseases you mention had been almost eliminated by the time you were born. (I was born in 1957.)
    posted by lukemeister at 8:10 PM on February 17, 2009


    A quick Google on "Jehovah's Witness transfusion minor" or "Christian Scientist diabetes minor" should demonstrate that there are very real limits to what parents can choose regarding their children's medical care.
    posted by TedW at 8:14 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    The decisions regarding vaccination are part and parcel with dozens of other decisions: tv before 2? breastmilk or formula? feed on demand vs. scheduling? attachment vs. ferberizing? crib vs. cosleeping? bumper pads (sids) vs. no bumped pads (bruises)? daycare vs. homecare vs stay-at-homecare?

    The evidence for all of these sucks. The "trusted books" everyone is recommended to are strident and contradictory. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to throw all our parenting books off the balcony because they practically screamed mutually contradictory advice in the most arrogant manner conceivable.

    You're trained to think that every little decision is life-and-death, that there's no good evidence, and that if you get it wrong you're a monster. Ignoring experts shouting this sort of thing becomes a survival skill. No wonder when it comes to a decision like this, where there IS a very compelling empirical argument for vaccines (I suppose we're talking about MMR principally), that parents aren't as receptive to expert opinion as they should be.
    posted by ~ at 8:28 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Don't be ridiculous. Government funding for all the "vanity" drugs you guys create would be absurd.

    Yep, we're a quarter step from a boob job.
    posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:45 PM on February 17, 2009


    In all seriousness people, I'm one of the minions of pure evil and some of you aren't even selling me.
    posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:52 PM on February 17, 2009


    [LEGAL CAREGIVERS HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER THEIR CHILDREN ARE VACCINATED] = False, because this is not always true; or True ONLY IF vaccination is not touched on by the rule of law as a matter of public or individual health or safety

    This is a statement that calls for citation if we are discussing formal logic relative to arguments made in this thread.

    Obviously, the state has an interest in public health.

    There is no law at the national level in the USA that mandates childhood vaccination. Every state provides a medical exemption. Religious exemptions are available in 47 states. Philosophical exemptions are available in 22 states.

    With regard to childhood vaccinations, only 2 states have laws dictating that the state's interests in public health supersede parental authority. Parents have the power to keep their children outside of those states' jurisdictions.

    It is always unlawful to drive drunk. It may be a hassle to not vaccinate one's children, but it is not unlawful in the USA.

    In the vast majority of cases, it is a good idea for parents to get vaccinations for their children.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 9:16 PM on February 17, 2009


    I believe this is the comment of dios' people are referring to.

    In those cases, the good of the child trumps the parents' belief, in the eyes of the law. So it is not always true that parents have complete control over medical procedures on their children.
    posted by nat at 9:40 PM on February 17, 2009


    McGuillicuddy, the fact that there exists an exemption, no matter the form, does not change the possibility of a law mandating childhood vaccination. That's what it means for there to be an exemption. There were medical, philosophical, and religious exemptions to the Draft in the U.S. during the Vietnam war - but there was a law of mandatory service. Alternatively, certain ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel are exempted from compulsory service (as are Muslims, iirc), but you'd better believe there's still compulsory service.

    More to the point: there is no law at the national level that mandates childhood vaccination. All right. However, just because there is no law on the books with regards to childhood vaccinations does not mean parents have the unfettered right to refuse to vaccinate their children. I'm willing to guess (if someone could confirm, that'd be great) there exists no specific law on the books regarding parents choosing for their children not to accept blood transfusions. And in any number of cases, they are allowed to do that. But if there's no other way for them to live, that's when someone like dios goes to the court and gets the State to step in, using (I'm guessing here) various child neglect laws? Whatever it happens to be.

    Now, that boils down to a requirement that there be a obvious and pressing need for the child to be vaccinated. Does such a situation exist? I'm not sure. I feel as if yes, and that it involves travel, either by the child or by someone expected to come in contact with the child. But I'm not sure.
    posted by Lemurrhea at 10:06 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    The decisions regarding vaccination are part and parcel with dozens of other decisions: tv before 2? breastmilk or formula? feed on demand vs. scheduling? attachment vs. ferberizing? crib vs. cosleeping? bumper pads (sids) vs. no bumped pads (bruises)? daycare vs. homecare vs stay-at-homecare?

    One of these things is not like the others.

    Hint: it's the one that puts the health of the community at risk.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:09 PM on February 17, 2009


    reductio ad absurdem fallacy

    Urgh. I knew that was wrong, honest. I was just typing at 2:20am in an insomniac haze. It's now six am and I think I may have slept, so I'll just point out that the term is now often used to refer to the abuse of this style of argument, by stretching the logic in order to force an absurd conclusion, which is fallacious, as noted on the site I looked up to find out if reductio had a T in it. Too much Harry Potter before bedtime, I suspect.
    posted by Sparx at 10:41 PM on February 17, 2009


    No one should wish for another's children to die. Any comment to that effect is wrong.

    That said, I am pro-vaccination based on the simple rationale that the benefit of vaccination far outweighs the risks. The science behind this is clear. There is no debate.

    The benefit to individual is one thing, but not the only thing. There is benefit to wider society if vaccines are administered and preventable diseases eliminated.

    When my wife was five months pregnant with our first daughter, she contracted the Chicken Pox from children at the YMCA where she exercised. The outbreak was reported after she was infected. As a pregnant woman, this was a serious situation putting both her and our unborn child at risk. She endured the disease, which causes nerve pain in adults, without any drugs, and the only treatment for her 103 degree fever was a cold shower. We were warned that birth defects were known to occur in fetuses when the mother had the chicken pox. Luckily, there was no effect on our daughter. My wife's skin still bears the scars of the pox.

    Had the children at the YMCA been vaccinated against the Chicken Pox, they would not have been infected and spread the disease to my wife, causing a serious medical condition. This is the benefit of vaccination to the society at large.

    There is simply no reasonable explanation to not vaccinate children to prevent disease in themselves and to protect the rest of their community.
    posted by Argyle at 10:51 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    It is always unlawful to drive drunk.

    False. I can think of a few circumstances where it's (probably) lawful to drive drunk.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:53 PM on February 17, 2009


    How did this thread become a discussion about logic?

    Crappy internet arguments have already made it so that I will never use the terms 'strawman', 'ad hominem', or 'confirmation bias' in a thread. Seriously guys, don't ruin 'reductio' for me.
    posted by painquale at 11:03 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


    I can think of a few circumstances where it's (probably) lawful to drive drunk.

    This is true. In CA at least it might be possible to get out of a drunk driving charge with a duress defense if you have an objectively reasonable belief that the cop who just forced your girlfriend into his patrol car might rape her or something so you follow him.
    posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:13 PM on February 17, 2009


    McGuillicuddy: "There is no law at the national level in the USA that mandates childhood vaccination."

    There is no law at the national level in the USA that mandates you must feed your child.

    This formal logic stuff is easy.
    posted by team lowkey at 11:18 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Great, because of this thread, now I can't even read random web comics without being reminded of it...
    posted by blueberry at 11:35 PM on February 17, 2009



    There is no law at the national level in the USA that mandates childhood vaccination.

    May there never be one! Since some certain number of children would be killed or damaged by vaccination under a mandatory vaccination law, that would amount to the State taking the lives of a few to protect the good of the many. It amounts to culling the herd, and is far beyond the bounds of the social contract I signed up for.

    National Vaccine Information Center
    posted by BinGregory at 12:46 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Wait, so if Balisong is Balisong and LarryC is Balisong then who is cortex?

    Pedobear. Try to keep up.


    When they're done with Scientology and animal-abusers, maybe /b/ can do something about these anti-vaccination people.

    (And then work on these anti-logic people.)
    posted by Stylus Happenstance at 12:58 AM on February 18, 2009


    Hah, you all missed my obvious mistake where I connected the end of the black plague with vaccination and picked on the less obvious and more difficult to refute vaguely incorrect statement about the absolute rights of parents! Does that mean I win the thread?
    posted by dg at 1:05 AM on February 18, 2009


    Further, Balisong's wife admits she's aware of vaccine research, but discounts it because it was performed by drug companies. It doesn't matter what facts you present to somebody like that, they will discount it immediately because of its sourcing.

    Not just drug companies: "Big Pharma" was how she put it. Because what we really need is more Little Pharma. That's what I want to see: Mom 'N' Pop vaccines, made with love in someone's kitchen. When it comes to what I inject into my kids, I don't want no fancypants "rigorously tested peer reviewed research" or "the urgings of thousands upon thousands of doctors" telling ME what to do with MY kids. Nuts to that, I say. I prefer the tried and true "cross my fingers" technique. It's only let me down a few times so far.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:08 AM on February 18, 2009 [23 favorites]


    Mom 'N' Pop vaccines, made with love in someone's kitchen

    Now containing 100% more laetrile!
    posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:49 AM on February 18, 2009


    Since some certain number of children would be killed or damaged by vaccination under a mandatory vaccination law, that would amount to the State taking the lives of a few to protect the good of the many. It amounts to culling the herd, and is far beyond the bounds of the social contract I signed up for.

    Well, we jail people and draft people. So harming a few to protect many clearly isn't out of bounds. Not sure what you mean by 'culling'.
    posted by ryanrs at 1:59 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    One of these things is not like the others.

    Hint: it's the one that puts the health of the community at risk.


    No, the difference is evidence. If there was iron-clad science demonstrating that bumper pads created young sociopaths and their absence created well adjusted little Barack Obamas, there would be a pretty significant public health discussion about parents who used bumper pads.

    I don't think there's anything simple about this. Vaccines have individual and herd benefits, and individual costs. Just the act of making this decision for a child is ethically complicated (since you are potentially weighing their interests against the herd's interests).

    The trouble here is the terrible science and damn-near criminal jackasses in the media who have invented a fake cost and scared some parents into making a bad decision for their child with really sad consequences for the herd.

    I don't think you read my previous post very generously. I was trying to explain why anger and ridicule isn't an effective treatment for the lousy viral meme (that vaccines cause autism) the herd has acquired.
    posted by ~ at 4:46 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    lukemeister-- and yet I had them. The only one I'm not entirely sure about was the diphtheria, a very Victorian disease; my mother always said it was diphtheria, and I distinctly recall having a tube shoved down my throat because I could not breathe (it's not the sort of thing you forget). (This is the problem with anecdotes-I was small; it's entirely possible my mother was wrong.) There was still diphtheria in the U.S. as late as 1981. Whooping cough was quite common where I grew up in Philadelphia. My father traveled internationally a lot, and we always had foreigners in and out of our house, which could be how I was exposed. I had the measles as an adult, so that was misleading.


    But that's exactly the point. "Almost" does not protect you if too many people are unvaccinated.

    As I said, this was also early in the vaccination period; I've known many people my age who had polio as children because their parents were mistrustful of the vaccine. A lot of people were still not getting vaccinated, even in major metro areas like Philly (where I grew up). I'm assuming the schools had not yet gotten on board with mandatory vac. Vaccinations were a big deal-- everyone would troop down to the school auditorium on a Saturday and they ran you through like an assembly line. When I went to Europe as a student in 1975, I had to get all the vaccinations at once because, even though my medical records showed me with these diseases, the Austrian university I attended required all foreign students to be vaccinated. My arm was sore for a month.
    posted by nax at 4:53 AM on February 18, 2009


    FFF, just to make the obvious point: new vaccines are constantly developed, and sometimes their individual costs outweigh the herd benefit. (For example, there was this Rotavirus vaccine a few years back that seemed to be associated with intussusception, as I recall. This isn't my field, but I think rotavirus is one of the bugs that causes a lot of GI misery and hospital visits among infants, so big herd benefit in stamping it out. (Incidentally, there's a newer rotavirus vaccine out now and I don't mean to cast any aspersions on it.))

    Parents absolutely do have a role advocating for their children before the herd. You're absolutely wrong to imply a parent doesn't have the right to elevate their child's interest above the herd's. (Let alone the duty to do so!)

    That's just not what's going on here. The problem is the awful media coverage, and as I said previously, of parents being vulnerable since they are overwhelmed by angry voices shouting intensely contradictory advice. (And I think all this discussion of parents reading articles from medical journals is utter horseshit. I'm an academic in a very mathematical field, and I sure can't.)
    posted by ~ at 5:06 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    ~: You're absolutely wrong to imply a parent doesn't have the right to elevate their child's interest above the herd's. (Let alone the duty to do so!)

    Well gee, that's terrifying.
    posted by applemeat at 5:46 AM on February 18, 2009


    This is a statement that calls for citation if we are discussing formal logic relative to arguments made in this thread.

    Sure, I'll agree to that - but it's your statement, not mine, so if you can find something to cite that says LEGAL CAREGIVERS HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER THEIR CHILDREN ARE VACCINATED which shows that it is always true within the US legal framework, you've supported your premise. Right now it's in error, though. The premise as stated is false, so the conclusion can never be true.

    There is no law at the national level in the USA that mandates childhood vaccination. Every state provides a medical exemption. Religious exemptions are available in 47 states. Philosophical exemptions are available in 22 states.

    With regard to childhood vaccinations, only 2 states have laws dictating that the state's interests in public health supersede parental authority. Parents have the power to keep their children outside of those states' jurisdictions.


    In every state, state authority is assumed unless parents follow a state-mandated procedure to seek an exemption. That is a de facto policy requiring vaccination and it supercedes the preferences of the parents.

    Finally, driving drunk is not always illegal. There exist varying standards of what blood alcohol level constitutes drunkenness and what evidence is admissible to determine drunkenness. Sometimes it's possible that someone who is drunk in some meaningful sense can be driving, legally. Without even reaching for exceptional case where prevention of harm overrides possibility of causing harm.
    posted by Miko at 6:26 AM on February 18, 2009


    1) Something else that people need to remember in this discussion is that herd immunity only seriously helps in cases where the herd is the only reservoir for the pathogen. We could never eradicate anthrax, for example, because it can (and probably does) live in your back yard. Similarly, tetanus is not a public health issue.

    2) Replace "Mom 'N' Pop vaccines" with "biotech startup compound" and you'll know why the phrase in-license makes my blood run cold. Often we get these when the little company realizes that they don't have the chops to get the go ahead from the FDA for clinical studies. Sometimes their work is all right, sometimes I look at my little corner of their analytical package, shudder and say something like, "Jesus, where the hell did they think they were going to test this, Joseph Mengele Memorial?!?!"

    3) I'm kind of thinking that the guy who breaks into your house and steals your stuff so he can fence it and buy things for his kids DOESN'T have that right. But I'm one of them damn liberals, so, well, you know.
    posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:51 AM on February 18, 2009


    Most of you are misrepresenting the State's interests in minor children and assuming that those of us who are "pro choice" don't recognize a State interest in community health or minor children. And you're putting the cart before the horse. Since it seems to be willful disregard, I'll withdraw from this argument after stating:

    Child endangerment is a crime. In most cases, failing to provide nourishment or life-sustaining medical care to a minor child is child endangerment. When the State gets involved in blood transfusions or diabetes treatment, it does so because the life or health of the patient is in imminent danger and the patient's legal guardian(s) are endangering the patient's health or life. Based on exigent circumstances related to endangerment, the State gets a court to appoint new guardianship with the power to agree to the medical treatment.

    While some non-vaccinating parents may be endangering their children, simply failing to vaccinate does not represent child endangerment (except, perhaps, in two states). As I understand him, dios believes he could convince a court that non-vaccination amounts to child endangerment, but I'm very doubtful of that claim because of the lack of exigent circumstances. Such a case may be viable during an epidemic, but as we stand today, I think his prospects for success are poor. Have any of you ever heard of a legal case where failure to vaccinate alone constituted child endangerment or something similar?

    It is the exceeding rare case where a parent will ever need to use any defense based on religious or philosophical exemption because they'll never be charged with violating a law or have their guardianship challenged for failure to vaccinate or child endangerment based on failure to vaccinate. The exemptions in vaccination laws are used to avoid school regulations not as a defense for criminal prosecution.

    If you drive drunk or illegally possess weapons while accompanied by a minor you may have committed the crime of child endangerment. If arrested, you'll almost certainly be prosecuted, and you can present your defense to the judge (or use it to plea-bargain).

    Generally speaking, child endangerment is a crime and failure to vaccinate is not. Failure to vaccinate does not reach the level of child endangerment. The State has an interest in vaccination and community health, but a court order is required to supersede the interests of legal guardians of minor children regarding their medical care.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 6:51 AM on February 18, 2009


    Wow, Miko, just...wow.

    [LEGAL CAREGIVERS HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER CHILDREN ARE VACCINATED]

    This is not my statement. If you recall, that is a statement which you inserted into a statement I made (notice your brackets?). Let's be honest.

    [LEGAL CAREGIVERS HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHEN AND WHETHER CHILDREN ARE VACCINATED] = False, because this is not always true; or True ONLY IF vaccination is not touched on by the rule of law as a matter of public or individual health or safety

    That's is not my statement, that's your statement. I quoted you and asked for a citation.

    Neither your disingenuously mischaracterizing my words nor your faulty logic advance the argument that childhood vaccinations are prudent?
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 6:54 AM on February 18, 2009


    In all seriousness people, I'm one of the minions of pure evil and some of you aren't even selling me.

    Well, you don't come to the meetings, you silly git. How can we determine your price if you're not there?
    posted by lysdexic at 7:18 AM on February 18, 2009


    This is not my statement. If you recall, that is a statement which you inserted into a statement I made (notice your brackets?). Let's be honest.

    I am being honest. I put it in brackets because I recognize that they aren't your words, but they are logically necesssary to link Premise A and your conclusion. They are implied - necessarily implied, because if they weren't implied, then you just had word salad with no relationship between Premise A and a leapt-to conclusion. Without Premise B there can't be a conclusion, and with Premise B the invalidity of the argument shows. I understand that you don't like me pointing that out, but the truth is, your Premise B is conditional, so your conclusion is also necessarily conditional. So as an argument stated without conditions, it's invalid. Now you're discussing the conditions - the immediacy of the endangerment - which complicates the argument in ways worth exploring - but when you were trying to reduce it to a simple argument, you couldn't create an airtight, valid one.
    posted by Miko at 7:30 AM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    My previous statement said that I could could "use the same legal arguments to get an order over-riding a parent's refusal based on the arguments made by Balisong." Whether the argument actually is sucessful or not would depend on whether the judge accepts the Affidavit of the treating physician that the child faces an irreparable harm. It may very well be the case that in this instance, a court would balk at granting such an order because the court does not find the harm imminent or irreparable. But that is a question whether the court accepts the medical evidence. I make no comment on that. I was addressing the legal principle.

    The legal principle that the state may over-ride the medical decisions of a parent, whether those decisions are based on religion or conscience, is set out by the United States Supreme Court:
    But the family itself is not beyond regulation in the public interest, as against a claim of religious liberty. And neither rights of religion nor rights of parenthood are beyond limitation. Acting to guard the general interest in youth's wellbeing, the state, as parens patriae, may restrict the parent's control by requiring school attendance, regulating or prohibiting the child's labor and in many other ways. Its authority is not nullified merely because the parent grounds his claim to control the child's course of conduct on religion or conscience. Thus, he cannot claim freedom from compulsory vaccination for the child more than for himself on religious grounds. The right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death. The catalogue need not be lengthened. It is sufficient to show what indeed appellant hardly disputes, that the state has a wide range of power for limiting parental freedom and authority in things affecting the child's welfare, and that this includes, to some extent, matters of conscience and religious conviction....A democratic society rests, for its continuance, upon the healthy, well rounded growth of young people into full maturity as citizens, with all that implies. It may secure this against impeding restraints and dangers within a broad range of selection. Among evils most appropriate for such action are the crippling effects of child employment, more especially in public places, and the possible harms arising from other activities subject to all the diverse influences of the street. It is too late now to doubt that legislation appropriately designed to reach such evils is within the state's police power, whether against the parent's claim to control of the child or one that religious scruples dictate contrary action.
    Prince v. Massachusetts, 312 U.S. 158 (1944) (internal citations omitted).

    In Prince, the Court analogized from its previous holding in Jacobson v. Massachusetts--an opinion holding that an adult could not refuse compulsory vaccination for himself--that parents cannot claim a matter of absolute right to make such decisions for their children. Such a right is always limited by the right of the state acting as parens patriae to over-ride that decision in the interest of the child's wellbeing.

    Thus bringing the argument full circle to my original point: the legal principle would exist to over-ride Balisong's decision. Whether a particular court would do so in this instance would be determined not by legal arguments, but rather would turn on what the medical testimony is by the concerned physician. If a court accepts that there is a irreparable danger to the well-being of a child, then a court may decide to over-ride that decision. Hope that clears up my initial point.
    posted by dios at 7:48 AM on February 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


    McGuillicuddy: I'm not in any way referring to guardianships or child endangerment laws. That's an entirely different ball of wax. When I go to court and get orders to treat these infants, there is not any reference to or discussion about the quality of the parenting and whether it is criminal child endangerment or whether CPS should be called. Rather, it is the state using its power through the judge to allow medical providers to treat a child against the wishes of a parent. By necessity, these matters are only pursued when medical providers believe strongly that it is absolutely necessary for the child to receive the treatment to avoid irreparable harm. Once the treatment is given, the matter is dropped from the health care providers' perspective. Whether a state agency wants to pursue the parent is an entirely different issue.
    posted by dios at 7:54 AM on February 18, 2009


    Finally, driving drunk is not always illegal.

    This is a minor point, but worth bringing up: driving drunk is always illegal. Miko, I think you elided the question a bit by "drunk in some meaningful sense" -- this seems like confusing the colloquial and legal senses of the terms. In the legal sense of the term, BAC is an objective limit.

    Evidence, of course, is a separate question that doesn't have anything to do with legality per se -- it's just a question of what's provable in court. Those things are distinct. Likewise, duress doesn't make something that's illegal magically legal -- it's just a defense, so proving the occurrence of the illegal act is actually a precondition to advancing the duress argument in the first place. If no crime, no defense.

    Of course, none of this is exactly pertinent to child endangerment, which as far as I'm aware isn't an objectively-defined crime.
    posted by spiderwire at 11:45 AM on February 18, 2009


    FWIW, drunk driving first entered into this thread as a response to the fatalism of the "meh, everyone dies of something eventually, so why bother?" attitude.
    posted by CKmtl at 12:02 PM on February 18, 2009


    driving drunk is always illegal

    I can drive as drunk as I like on my own private property. Don't even need a license.
    posted by ryanrs at 12:06 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    on my own private property

    A fair point in more ways than one.
    posted by spiderwire at 12:15 PM on February 18, 2009


    I can drive as drunk as I like on my own private property. Don't even need a license.
    In Illinois if your car is parked on your property with the keys in the ignition and you are drinking you can be cited for operation under the influence.
    posted by Sailormom at 12:15 PM on February 18, 2009


    This is a minor point, but worth bringing up: driving drunk is always illegal. Miko, I think you elided the question a bit by "drunk in some meaningful sense" -- this seems like confusing the colloquial and legal senses of the terms. In the legal sense of the term, BAC is an objective limit.

    Yeah, but BAC varies location to location and is not always the standard used to determine drunkenness. Drunkenness is a subjective condition - much more than vaccinated/not vaccinated, which is binary. All I'm saying is that someone with a blood alcohol level of below .08% might concievably be drunk - and yet not legally liable for a DWI offence. Anyway, it's a side point, at best a quibble about the difference between the legal definition of "under the influence as demonstrated by evidence" vs. the colloquial "drunk," which doesn't involve a blood alcohol level. I'm not confusing them, just pointing out that as a truth-testable statement "driving drunk is always illegal" has holes in it.
    posted by Miko at 12:20 PM on February 18, 2009


    I can drive as drunk as I like on my own private property. Don't even need a license.
    In Illinois if your car is parked on your property with the keys in the ignition and you are drinking you can be cited for operation under the influence.

    In Queensland (Australia), you can be charged if you are in the vicinity of the vehicle and have the keys on you - because the charge is not related to driving, it's related to being in charge of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. However, meeting the legal definition of "under the influence of alcohol (.05 here, 0 for new drivers) does not necessarily make you drunk, which is a much more nebulous term - some people would be considered drunk at much lower readings and plenty of seasoned drinkers would not be considered drunk at much higher levels.
    posted by dg at 12:56 PM on February 18, 2009


    You can't really drive drunk anyway. I mean, you can get in a car and manage to get it into drive, but anything else that happens from that point out only superficially resembles driving. It more properly resembled staggering home on wheels.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 1:28 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    these matters are only pursued when medical providers believe strongly that it is absolutely necessary for the child to receive the treatment to avoid irreparable harm.

    As to how this could relate to vaccines, consider a child bit by a rabid dog. Treatment consists of several rounds of rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin administered to a patient who is not yet sick.

    A bit of a special case, I suppose.
    posted by ryanrs at 1:32 PM on February 18, 2009



    Dear Ask Metafilter:

    I'm taking my kitten to be declawed tomorrow, should I get it vaccinated too? I'm worried about the autism.
    posted by mullingitover at 1:32 PM on February 18, 2009


    Circumcise him first.
    posted by Balisong at 2:07 PM on February 18, 2009


    Astro Zombie : It more properly resembled staggering home on wheels.

    Which is why the only vehicle I'll ever get behind the wheel of after I've been drinking is a bumper-car at the county fair.

    Though, why they always seem to look just like stolen SUVs in the parking lot seems to elude me.
    posted by quin at 2:35 PM on February 18, 2009


    A timely yet utterly tragic story from the Boston Herald:

    Boy dies from flu after losing vaccine permission slip.
    posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 5:05 PM on February 18, 2009


    Boy dies from flu after losing vaccine permission slip.

    Jesus god, that's heartbreaking.

    A friend of mine lost her 6-year-old niece a few years ago to the flu after not being vaccinated because her parents had been scared into believing that vaccines are a "Big Pharma" plot by their neighbors, who had aggressively organized their neighborhood into a "no-vaccine" zone. So I have absolutely no fucking patience with the sort of perfidious, anti-Enlightenment bullshit that ends up with children dead because some people prefer magical thinking to the scientific method.
    posted by scody at 5:27 PM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


    nax,

    Wow, I thought diphtheria was exceedingly rare in the US by the 50s. I got measles and chicken pox, none of the others you mentioned.
    posted by lukemeister at 5:32 PM on February 18, 2009


    Boy dies from flu after losing vaccine permission slip.

    My coworker's daughter is a classmate of his. The school parents are very shocked and nervous.
    posted by Miko at 6:29 PM on February 18, 2009


    Boy dies from flu after losing vaccine permission slip.
    Tragic, I feel sorry for the parents.

    I have some questions about that story, though.

    Aside from being a tragic story, what is the lesson or remedy?

    That flu shots should be mandatory? Should school nurses be able to give the shots without the parent's permission? Should the default be that they get the shots unless the kid brings a waiver? Should the permission slip be pinned to the boy's shirt? Tattoo, on the arm?

    Flu shots have thimerisol in them. The flu vaccine is not really a vaccine in that the flu virus changes from year to year, and there can even be several types going around at the same time. It might inoculate you from one type, but be useless against others. The flu shots are made in advance on someone's best guess of what type of flu is going to hit, and sometimes they get it wrong. You get a shot for one type, but another type hits you. The story doesn't say if the flu he died from is the same one the shots were for. The flu shots contain live virus, and wouldn't it be extra tragic if the boy got the virus from someone who just got the shot and was an "immune" carrier?

    Again, tragic story. I'm wondering what the point, or remedy is.
    posted by Balisong at 8:26 PM on February 18, 2009


    The lesson or remedy is that vaccines worked on all of this kids classmates.
    posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:40 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I'm wondering what the point, or remedy is.

    The point is that vaccines demonstrably save lives, no matter how much rhetorical sleight-of-hand gets employed to try to make non-science appear to trump real science.

    The remedy would have been to have vaccines available at the boy's school for more than one day, so that he could have gotten a replacement permission slip. Alternatively, schools could establish notification systems of some sort, so that parents of kids are made aware that their child did or did not receive their vaccination on such-and-such day. In this case, his mom would have received the notice that her son did NOT get vaccinated, which would have then enabled her to take an additional step for him to receive the vaccine, such as by going to a pharmacy or making an appointment with his pediatrician. But the fact that you throw out tattooing as a hypothetical "remedy" -- presumably as a sarcastic OMG BIG PHARMA TOTALITARIAN STATE dig -- is nicely instructive about the anti-vax side's mindset.
    posted by scody at 8:48 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    (oh, and I realized that in my earlier comment, in my anger I typed "perfidious" when I intended "pernicious." Because while the anti-vaccine side certainly contains ample amounts of deceitfulness, overriding even that is its fundamental, selfish, and profound harmfulness.)
    posted by scody at 9:01 PM on February 18, 2009


    The flu shots contain live virus, and wouldn't it be extra tragic if the boy got the virus from someone who just got the shot and was an "immune" carrier?

    No the flu shots do not fucking contain live virus, and if that's the level of knowledge you possess after you and your wife's exhaustive research of this topic, well, good job. Good job.
    posted by Justinian at 9:03 PM on February 18, 2009 [13 favorites]


    I see. I agree that they work. I've never said that they don't work. I've just said that I'm not sure that the shots, in themselves, are safe. Were there any other kids who didn't get the shot? Are they all dead?
    Tragedy can strike from many vectors.

    I agree that vaccines work, but what is the real cost? We live in a society where people don't die from measles, mumps and polio anymore. That's a great thing. But we now live in a society where the scary diseases are autism, Alzheimer's, Asperger's syndrome, food allergies, Crohn's disease, Multiple sclerosis, ADD, eczema, auto-immune disorders, Lupus, Arthritis, diabetes, and, of course cancer.
    What causes those diseases? They are as real as the ones we've eradicated, and we know very little about what causes them, or how to cure them. Environmental toxins? Pesticides? too much TV, cell phones, and electronic stimuli? There are many factors.
    I agree that all the vaccines out there DO work, at least most of the time, but what I'm most concerned about is that they haven't been shown to be SAFE. Safe enough to give to the general population, maybe. What's a few bad reactions when compared to AN OUTBREAK!!!
    It's a trade off. You won't get pertussis, but later in life, you might get Alzheimer's.
    The studies haven't shown that these vaccines are safe to take, only that they work.
    New research is still in the works, and they come up with new stuff all the time.
    That's why I've decided that it's best to wait. It's not that I'm anti-science, it's that I'm skeptical, and cautious.
    posted by Balisong at 9:09 PM on February 18, 2009


    That's why I've decided that it's best to wait. It's not that I'm anti-science, it's that I'm skeptical, and cautious.

    No, I think you're pretty clearly anti-science, actually. You claim that we haven't shown the vaccines to be safe. That just isn't true.
    posted by Justinian at 9:13 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I'm not anti-science. I've studied, geology, physics, statistics, and psychology, including neuro-psychology, and how changes in brain chemicals can affect behavior and thought processes. I even believe that the least scientific thing anyone could ever do is come to a consensus. If we ever did that, we'd still be living in a flat earth. Never stop questioning. That's the scientific mind. Find the next question, and whatever answer you have is just the best available theory until something better comes along.

    You don't know me. and it's useless to argue with you people, because you are as sure about yourselves as I am. I guess that's the nature of internet forums. Argue, white knuckled, until someone comes in with the King Snark that makes everyone stop and stare at it's brilliance in awe.

    Well, I'm glad I'm the punching bag for now. Another one will come along shortly, I'm sure.
    posted by Balisong at 9:22 PM on February 18, 2009


    But we now live in a society where the scary diseases are autism, Alzheimer's, Asperger's syndrome, food allergies, Crohn's disease, Multiple sclerosis, ADD, eczema, auto-immune disorders, Lupus, Arthritis, diabetes, and, of course cancer...

    I'm totally ready to be wrong on this point, but I'd be willing to guess that the reason that we have the time to really dig into these kinds of conditions and disorders nowadays are mostly because we aren't more worried about the kill-one-in-a-statistically-small-number kinds of diseases like smallpox and such that vaccines have mostly killed off.

    I'm not suggesting that Alzheimer's is a picnic; I watched a good man lose a battle to it a few years ago, but it's got nothing on the kind of destructive power that measles can unleash.

    What I'm saying is that as much as I'd like to see ADD sorted out, I'd much rather we spent another hundred years with it, if it meant that we would never see another smallpox outbreak.
    posted by quin at 9:35 PM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


    ... I dunno, quin. I bet polio is really bad and stuff, but when I eat tree nuts, my throat gets HELLA itchy.
    posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:42 PM on February 18, 2009


    Bailsong, if you really want to know all the causes of all the modern ills of a developed country, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. We don't live in a linear world. As you yourself pointed out, the boy could have died from some other strain. A single event can have multiple causes.

    What constitutes safe, anyhow? What about the toxins leaching into your fingers from the plastic keyboard? Do you have a CRT monitor? What of the radiation and electromagnetic forces coming from it? What about the potential RSIs from repeated typing and mouse clicking?

    What about the plastics in the car seats? What about the UV rays coming in the car windows? What about the plastic containers the sunblock comes in?

    Crazy questions? Why yes, they are. They are at the same level of the questions you're posing about vaccinations. Study after study after multiple studies have been posted, with links, and what you have offered are emotional and philisophical arguments, which frankly, are unconvincing.

    Nothing is guaranteed safe. Even USDA inspected meat is suspect. The standards for what's allowed in commercial milk curdles my stomach. What we have is the reduced likelyhood for harm. A lesser chance of a greater harm. That's what the vaccines offer. Not complete safety, not total protection, but a better chance at avoiding a greater harm. Who here has claimed otherwise?
    posted by lysdexic at 9:46 PM on February 18, 2009


    I'd be willing to guess that the reason that we have the time to really dig into these kinds of conditions and disorders nowadays are mostly because we aren't more worried about the kill-one-in-a-statistically-small-number kinds of diseases like smallpox and such that vaccines have mostly killed off.

    Exactly my point.
    Today, we have the LUXURY of time to figure out the chronic diseases that nobody ever used to get because they were all killed off by smallpox. The average lifespan is much longer now, and the things that we need to address are the diseases that happen later in life, what causes them, and how to cure them.

    Just because a vaccine works, doesn't mean it's a safe thing to inject into your body. There might be serious consequences down the road that nobody wants to address because OMG, NOT to take it, and EVERYBODY DIES! It's that type of scare mongering that got us into a recent war or two. It's true, it's a luxury to have the time to think past those old timey horrible diseases, and that's just what I'm doing. Looking past those diseases to new ones.
    posted by Balisong at 9:48 PM on February 18, 2009


    I even believe that the least scientific thing anyone could ever do is come to a consensus.

    Well, I think a lot of working scientists appreciate the situations in which they can come to a consensus, because that implies that we have learned something about the world. Unless you don't believe in the ability of science to teach us things about the world (and I've never met a scientist who doesn't).

    In an earlier comment, Balisong (I wrote your name wrong upthread, sorry), you concede that vaccines have cured some ailments, but not all. You then ask the question, "What causes these (as of yet) uncured ailments?" as if the answer should be any different than what caused the now (relatively) cured ailments. What causes cancer? Cell metabolism causes cancer! It is as "natural" an illness as one can get.

    There is no need to associate human illness with human action and industry, but you seem to make every excuse to do so. Certainly there are behaviors that we partake in that can increase our risk of illness, and perhaps there are behaviors that we can partake in that decrease our risk of illness, but in the broadest sense illness is not something that human beings can be blamed for. And yet in all of your comments I hear the undercurrent of a person who wants to point fingers, to place blame, and to say, "I told you so!" I'm just not sure who you think you can blame, and what you think you can tell them.

    The real tragedy is that if, in a certain sense, we are not responsible for our own illnesses, we may not ever be able to cure (some of) them.
    posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 9:51 PM on February 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Just because a vaccine works, doesn't mean it's a safe thing to inject into your body. There might be serious consequences down the road that nobody wants to address because OMG, NOT to take it, and EVERYBODY DIES!

    Lots of people—people who nonetheless support vaccination—want to address that issue. There's a whole lot of people in this thread acknowledging that vaccines are not a no-risk proposition.

    However, the notion that avoiding vaccines because they might, despite a lack of any indication so far that this is likely, turn out ot have some causative role in the development of one of a laundry list of diseases? That doesn't scale. Because if a whole bunch of people take a few decades off from vaccination Just To Be Cautious, we've got genuine epidemic dangers. You know, the sort of thing that happened routinely up until the most recent tiny window of human history?

    Now, if your argument is that you can be skeptical, that you have the luxury of taking your time because everyone else is doing the vaccination thing? That's you using "we" wrong when you say "we have the LUXURY of time". There is no we, here; it doesn't scale. You have the luxury of leveraging the responsibility of others to hedge in some limited respect your own risk and need to act responsibly in the context of the society around you.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 9:59 PM on February 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


    I know. What do you say to someone when they look at you and say, " How DARE you think of your own children before you think of MINE."?
    posted by Balisong at 10:03 PM on February 18, 2009


    "I'm selfish and only thinking of myself".

    All snark aside, say nothing. What do you say to someone who can't be vaccinated?
    posted by lysdexic at 10:05 PM on February 18, 2009


    "Gee, I hope nobody with smallpox comes in this room."
    posted by Balisong at 10:07 PM on February 18, 2009


    I agree that all the vaccines out there DO work, at least most of the time, but what I'm most concerned about is that they haven't been shown to be SAFE.

    Actually, they have been shown to be safe; you just conveniently reject the proof by demanding a 100% NO-RISK standard that I suspect you don't demand in any other arena of life (is driving no-risk? Is having electrical outlets no-risk? Is walking down the street no-risk? No, but you presumably place your children in cars, light your home by something other than the sun, and allow them out in public).

    But OK, I'll bite: please illustrate known incidents of harm (greater than the disease itself) that were caused by all those "unsafe" smallpox vaccines used to eradicate the disease globally. Hypothetical scenarios using made-up sets of conditions or faulty analogies do not count as proof, no matter how much you think saying you've "studied" geology bolsters your point when you still hold the erroneous belief that vaccines contain live viruses.

    But we now live in a society where the scary diseases are autism, Alzheimer's, Asperger's syndrome, food allergies, Crohn's disease, Multiple sclerosis, ADD, eczema, auto-immune disorders, Lupus, Arthritis, diabetes, and, of course cancer.
    What causes those diseases? They are as real as the ones we've eradicated, and we know very little about what causes them, or how to cure them.


    This sort of attempted distraction from the argument is the intellectual equivalent of standing there with a mirror and yelling "look, shiny!" (And, incidentally, you are aware that they've developed a vaccine against cervical cancer for women, no? Oh wait, I'm sure that's some Big Pharma plot too, and has no doubt "never been proven safe" either.) Your appeal to "they're as real as the ones we've eradicated" is utterly beside the point in trying to argue against using the vaccines that already exist right now.

    Well, I'm glad I'm the punching bag for now. Another one will come along shortly, I'm sure.

    If by "come along" you mean "start a thread that explicitly nominates one's self as the topic of conversation" then yes, I actually agree with you on that score (though I don't know if the next person will actually repeat your invitation to "kick me around in here" and then get petulant when said kicking commences).

    " How DARE you think of your own children before you think of MINE."

    And here's the difference: people who vaccinate their children are thinking of their own children AND yours simultaneously. That you don't afford the rest of us the same courtesy would be merely distastefully selfish if it didn't mean your actions weren't potentially murderous.
    posted by scody at 10:12 PM on February 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


    I think the real concern is that there is no evidence of a link between MMR vaccine and autism, and that making a choice based on that assumption is dangerous and—perhaps willfully ["Did I say show me studies? Well, I meant show me-not-those studies!"]—uninformed.
    posted by defenestration at 10:15 PM on February 18, 2009


    Quick, call the CIA! This Balisong character is raising his kids to become WMD's!
    posted by Balisong at 10:20 PM on February 18, 2009


    Until science proves without a shadow of a doubt that wearing a seatbelt doesn't cause cancer, I will consider it unsafe to wear a seatbelt, or let my kids use theirs. Here's hoping everyone else on the highway drives safe at all times. I'm counting on you, herd! Be responsible for me.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:30 PM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Come on.. that's not a King Snark. Alex Reynolds did better than that.
    posted by Balisong at 10:34 PM on February 18, 2009


    Quick, call the CIA! This Balisong character is raising his kids to become WMD's!

    Well, if we're through discussing and it's time to make jokes, I guess I'll take a crack: Unlike Balisong's children, this thread refuses to die!

    Oh wait, I'm sorry. Your last comment isn't actually a joke. My bad.
    posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 10:35 PM on February 18, 2009


    ...is nicely instructive about the anti-vax side's mindset.

    Actually, that's nicely instructive about the mindset of the person who said it. Are you really only capable of seeing things in an us-versus-them, win/lose, black-and-white way? There are no sides.
    posted by davejay at 10:36 PM on February 18, 2009


    Until science proves without a shadow of a doubt that wearing a seatbelt doesn't cause cancer, I will consider it unsafe to wear a seatbelt, or let my kids use theirs. Here's hoping everyone else on the highway drives safe at all times. I'm counting on you, herd! Be responsible for me.

    Here's one: the government decided to put airbags in all cars. However, some children and people of small stature were killed by the airbag in low-speed collisions. Eventually they figured out that the deployment speed/force of the airbags were too strong, and so now cars come with "depowered" airbags that go off with less severity, significantly reducing the likelihood of a low-speed death while minimally impacting effectiveness in high-speed crashes.

    When the deaths first came to light, but there hadn't been a conclusive cause determined yet, was it rational to be somewhat suspicious of airbags, and so take steps to avoid injury in a low-speed collision (such as keeping your seat as far back as possible, and avoiding leaning forward or otherwise putting yourself in proximity of the airbag?)

    Moreso, once the news came out, was it irrational to put off buying a brand-new car just to get the "depowered" airbags?

    Some people are pro-vaccine to a fault, and would defend a vaccine that was proven to kill someone. Some people are anti-vaccine to a fault, and would avoid the safest vaccine known to man. Most people are just overwhelmed by all the choices they have to make as people, as parents, and as practitioners -- and a little bit of caution while new information is processed and studied seems like an acceptable survival skill.

    Or have we forgotten that there was a time that x-ray machines were used casually in shoe stores to check the fitting of new shoes on people's feet?
    posted by davejay at 10:45 PM on February 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


    You know what, balisong? I've got plenty of sympathies with buddhism, and I've meditated on my own mortality at length (which you've already implied that you're the only one wise or enlightened enough in this thread to have done). I've also been immunosuppressed. I've had family members who've been immunosuppressed. The fact that you crack jokes about putting my life, my father's life, and my nephew's life at risk doesn't illustrate any wise insight about the inevitability of mortality, as you smugly seem to believe. What it does demonstrate is a deep contempt and fundamental lack of compassion and empathy for the lives outside your own insular circle. Your own words and actions betray the very ideals I bet you congratulate yourself on a daily basis for holding.

    There are no sides.

    What twaddle. There's no "side" to teaching evolution vs. creationism in public classrooms? There's no "side" to whether infections are caused by germs vs. witches? There's no "side" to whether you'll fall or fly if you jump off your roof?
    posted by scody at 10:49 PM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Come on.. that's not a King Snark. Alex Reynolds did better than that.

    I'm being serious. Your position is essentially, 'Since A hasn't been proven to not cause B, then I'm staying away from it', regardless of the benefits you admit they possess. And you've yourself admitted that you rely on the rest of us to stay healthy and innoculated so that your family can cruise safely through.

    I think I was naive when I said there was trolling afoot, but I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. Discussion? Yeah, if only. If you're going to take a ridiculous position, expect it to not be taken seriously.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:50 PM on February 18, 2009


    which you've already implied that you're the only one wise or enlightened enough in this thread to have done

    What?

    I mentioned that I had a 5 minute conversation with my daughter that things die.
    There is a big problem with reading comprehension in this community. I wonder if there is a vaccine for that.
    posted by Balisong at 10:52 PM on February 18, 2009


    Or have we forgotten that there was a time that x-ray machines were used casually in shoe stores to check the fitting of new shoes on people's feet?

    Or thalidomide! Don't forget thalidomide!

    Here's the difference - in case you missed the thread being refered to, MMR vaccines have been proven to have no link to autism. You can take any list of diseases in one column, and any list of things you ingest in another column, and draw lines any way you please. But it's not science. To say, "Well, since it hasn't been proven that it DOESN'T do this, it might actually do that, so it's not safe" is absurd.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:53 PM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Nope, that's it. I WANT my kids to get autism now, and if a damn MMR vaccine won't give it to them, I'll find something else that can.
    posted by Balisong at 10:55 PM on February 18, 2009


    But we now live in a society where the scary diseases are autism, Alzheimer's, Asperger's syndrome, food allergies, Crohn's disease, Multiple sclerosis, ADD, eczema, auto-immune disorders, Lupus, Arthritis, diabetes, and, of course cancer...

    Yah. Because the scary diseases killed 'em. Most of the things you list indicate compromised bodily systems, many of them immunity defects: weak organisms that would drop dead if polio, smallpox, or diptheria came sweeping through the community.

    I guess your thinking makes sense if you figure we humans could use some culling.
    posted by five fresh fish at 11:02 PM on February 18, 2009


    I mentioned that I had a 5 minute conversation with my daughter that things die.

    During which you take the opportunity to lecture us on the fact that everything dies and imply that it's our fear of death (which is inevitable anyway) that drives the pro-vaccine argument.

    There is a big problem with reading comprehension in this community.

    Not really; we comprehend well enough to notice you can't even keep your own story straight. You claim your children have never been to a doctor, while Mrs. Balisong says here she was taking your kids to the doctor so often that she was told it was unnecessary. So which is it?
    posted by scody at 11:07 PM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


    I was mistaken. She did take my daughter to a couple well-baby visits months after the birth. Also, my wife reminded me that when my daughter got a urinary tract infection during a potty training mishap, we took her in to get checked out and a script for antibiotics.
    It's my son that hasn't been to a doctor. We took him in to get his hearing checked, but that was more of a clinic just for that.
    So, I WAS WRONG. I haven't been denying my children medical treatment.
    posted by Balisong at 11:13 PM on February 18, 2009


    that drives the pro-vaccine argument.

    I'm not the spokesperson for the anti-vaccine argument. I'm a concerned parent. I'm sorry if you feel I was lecturing you. I didn't mean to. I'm sure nobody will lecture me about anything, either. That's really not what Metafilter is for.
    posted by Balisong at 11:17 PM on February 18, 2009


    Exactly my point. Today, we have the LUXURY of time to figure out the chronic diseases that nobody ever used to get because they were all killed off by smallpox. The average lifespan is much longer now, and the things that we need to address are the diseases that happen later in life, what causes them, and how to cure them.

    Just because a vaccine works, doesn't mean it's a safe thing to inject into your body.


    Waittasec, you agree with me.

    So what you are saying is that we better give our kids vaccines, having them assume the risks, so that your children can benefit by lack of deadly childhood diseases and also benefit by not assuming the risks.

    All the privilege of living in a deadly-childhood-disease–free society, and absolutely none of the responsibilities. Worse than welfare cheats, you essentially steal your children's health from others.

    Unless, of course, you wouldn't be at all upset if everyone were to think like you, bringing back the threat of polio, diptheria, smallpox, all those wicked diseases that were so virulent that you were basically sure to lose a child to one.

    Either way, your thinking is off-putting.
    posted by five fresh fish at 11:23 PM on February 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Waittasec, you agree with me.
    I think we are agreeing together.

    So what you are saying is that we better give our kids vaccines, having them assume the risks, so that your children can benefit by lack of deadly childhood diseases and also benefit by not assuming the risks.
    I never said "better give", you will make that choice, or not, on your own.

    Worse than welfare cheats, you essentially steal your children's health from others.
    Next you'll be accusing me of stealing someone else's salvation. Cut in front of you in line at St. Peter's Gate.

    of course, you wouldn't be at all upset if everyone were to think like you...that you were basically sure to lose a child to one.
    If that were the case, I'd have to rethink my decision. If I lived in New York City, I'd have to rethink my decision. If a number of factors were different, I'd have to rethink my decision. But the factors lie where they do right now, and I had to think my decision through in the first place. And the decision is..Now get this... I'm going to wait a while.
    I'm probably going to get my kids vaccinated. I said so upthread. Just not right now. Not according to the schedule that most people use. After they are done breastfeeding, and after their blood brain barrier has developed, and they have had a chance to develop their own immune systems, then I probably will get them vaccinated. I'm waiting because I'm skeptical and cautious. But, you know, it was YOU. It was that last comment about how I was a welfare cheat that finally made me change my mind. All those other derogatory comments just slid off my back, but it was the welfare cheat comment that did it. GOOD JOB!

    Too bad there's not a sarcasm tag.
    posted by Balisong at 11:49 PM on February 18, 2009


    Come on.. that's not a King Snark. Alex Reynolds did better than that.

    Here we are now
    Entertain us
    I feel stupid and contagious


    </sarcasm>

    This is so weird. Usually I'm the lonely pro (if slack) vaxer in an online kerfuffule. I must have missed your bit earlier about maybe vaxing them later. I could have sworn it was someone else. Ah, it was davejay and you.

    So you're "lax-vax". Wevs. Good luck, enjoy your kids. I mean that sincerely.

    Now the breathing treatment is done, and I am hopefully off to bed.
    posted by lysdexic at 11:59 PM on February 18, 2009


    That's a great thing. But we now live in a society where the scary diseases are autism, Alzheimer's, Asperger's syndrome, food allergies, Crohn's disease, Multiple sclerosis, ADD, eczema, auto-immune disorders, Lupus, Arthritis, diabetes, and, of course cancer.

    I have ADD. It sucks, really. But I'll take it over measles any day of the week. What you are listing are conditions that are finally being correctly diagnosed, where before all of these people would have died early on in childhood or been placed in a loony bin. We die of cancer now partially because there are more carcinogens now than there were 50 years ago, but mostly because people are living so much longer that they get to live to the ripe old age where cancer kicks in. Basically once you reach past a certain age, cancer becomes increasingly likely no matter what. That's part of it. And sure, there are probably other things that are causing cancer too, but vaccinations ain't it. There are just too many healthy vaccinated people. And you know what? You make calculated risks based on overall benefit. There is a small population genuinely at risk from vaccinations, but most people benefit.
    posted by Deathalicious at 12:05 AM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


    I'm sorry if you feel I was lecturing you.

    Screw the apology for lecturing me; where's your apology for putting my father at risk when he was going through cancer treatment? (Or me, for that matter? Or my nephew?) I eagerly await your next sarcastic comment on this topic. Because hahaha, it's funny to mock other people's lives and families and fears and desire not to die from preventable diseases! Also, I wipe my ass with the social contract!

    In the meantime, since you've claimed at least a couple of times to ground your position being "skeptical" (by which you further claim the mantle of "the scientific mind"), you may possibly be interested in the actual skeptic position re the safety of vaccines.
    posted by scody at 12:29 AM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


    The average lifespan is much longer now, and the things that we need to address are the diseases that happen later in life, what causes them, and how to cure them.
    You realise, I assume, that the reason we need to address those diseases is that we have all but eradicated the diseases that would have killed significant portions of the population before they had a chance to catch diseases later in life? That the reason the average lifespan is now longer than it used to be is due, in part, to vaccinations?

    I'm glad you and your kids get to live longer than they would have years ago, but it's no thanks to you - I hope you thank your neighbours for the extra years you get to enjoy your kids.

    I'm too lazy to go through this whole thread and digest your commentary here for confirmation, but the inconsistency and deception threaded through your comments has me convinced that, while you may be genuine about your concerns over vaccination, you are now merely here to continue stirring the pot and to keep the attention on you. If it looks like a troll and reads like a troll ...
    posted by dg at 12:56 AM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


    that's just what I'm doing. Looking past those diseases to new ones.

    And overlooking the fact that because of people like you who choose not to vaccinate, the old diseases are beginning to regain the ground they lost. Incidentally, the "new" diseases were always there. It's just that they were either misdiagnosed or not enough people lived long enough to contract them.

    You're constantly accusing everyone else in these threads of being condescending and contemptuous towards you, but your own comments contain plenty of that as well.
    posted by andraste at 3:21 AM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Screw the apology for lecturing me; where's your apology for putting my father at risk when he was going through cancer treatment? (Or me, for that matter? Or my nephew?)

    If your father or nephew caught anything from my two year old daughter, who lives a thousand miles away from you, and spends most of her time in her room, then they are the ones who have some explaining to do. Keep them the hell away from my daughter.
    posted by Balisong at 5:39 AM on February 19, 2009


    If your father or nephew caught anything from my two year old daughter, who lives a thousand miles away from you, and spends most of her time in her room, then they are the ones who have some explaining to do. Keep them the hell away from my daughter.

    We already get that you don't understand herd immunity. At this point you are just embarrassing yourself by endlessly detailing the depths of your lack of understanding.
    posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:47 AM on February 19, 2009


    I mean really. You've got to be fucking kidding me. You really think that I have harmed your father and nephew in any way?
    You can rail against people like me all you want, but you are a fucking idiot if you think that anything I could do or not has affected your family personally.
    posted by Balisong at 5:55 AM on February 19, 2009


    I've been rubbernecking for a while (shameful) and I think it's become pretty clear at this point that Balisong is exactly on the same page as everyone else. You're all talking to him like he's a good person who just doesn't understand the issue, so you're getting frustrated. Explaining how vaccines work and why herd immunity matters is not going to advance the conversation, if we assume this is some kind of dialogue between Balisong and everyone else. He's not a good person. He knows what he's doing is wrong, and he doesn't care. That's why he's deflecting, making jokes, intentionally misunderstanding you... He gets that he's free-riding. It doesn't bother him.

    Just thought I'd share my read. I wouldn't try to change his mind with facts or logic, if I were y'all.
    posted by prefpara at 6:12 AM on February 19, 2009 [11 favorites]


    Ok, Balisong, fine, you didn't put scody et al at risk. But every day that your kids are in public, whether at the park or in the grocery store or going to the movies, you are putting other immunocompromised people at risk. Period. People with weakened immune systems don't exactly advertise that fact, you know.

    You're completely obsessed with protecting your precious little darlings from this perceived harm, and in doing so you're giving a gigantic FUCK YOU to every person out there who doesn't share your DNA.

    Nice world you live in there, dude.
    posted by shiu mai baby at 6:39 AM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


    You'd think that the immunosupperssed wouldn't go into germ factories like grocery stores and the park or the movies. Do you think that maybe they would let someone else do the shopping and get a netflix account?
    posted by Balisong at 6:45 AM on February 19, 2009


    Lemmie guess, the immunosuppressed have an uncontrolable urge to lick the monkey bars at the local playground.
    posted by Balisong at 6:53 AM on February 19, 2009


    Shit, they were asking for it. Look at what their T-cells were wearing.
    posted by cortex (staff) at 7:01 AM on February 19, 2009 [14 favorites]


    My girlfriend has lupus. Please don't keep her locked up. kthxbye.
    posted by netbros at 7:02 AM on February 19, 2009


    I think it's interesting that the more the illogic and nonsense of the anti-vax ideology are exposed, the more petulant and defensive Balisong is becoming.

    He knows we disagree. He knows we have far better arguments to support the pro-vax position. He knows we feel his decisions are bad for the children and socially irresponsible in the larger sense.

    You would think someone who felt so sure of their position and so confident in their choices would not have started this "poor me" MeTa in the first place, would not have felt obligated to duck and weave and change the facts of his story and certainly would not feel the necessity to peevishly assert that, for example, immunocompromised individuals should essentially be confined to their homes in order to facilitate his socially irresponsible choices. It just shows such immaturity and selfishness, and really belies his assertion that his family's decisions are well-researched and carefully considered. The farther this has gone on, the more you would think he would sit back and say to himself "I know I am doing the right thing, who cares what these people think" and go hang out with the little germ-factories.

    But instead, I just see a jerk having a temper tantrum.
    posted by bunnycup at 7:06 AM on February 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


    And apparently you have nothing better to do either.
    posted by Balisong at 7:09 AM on February 19, 2009


    Right, but the difference is that bunnycup -- and many, many other people on both of these threads -- have taken the time to present a rational, logical explanation for their pro-vax stance that's backed up by, you know, science.

    You, however, have clung so desperately to this "my children uber alles" attitude, and you've presented nothing more substantial than your nebulous claims of having "read stuff" about the subject. Not once have you presented any hard-core, tested, proof that could possibly substantiate or justify this breathtakingly selfish approach to raising your children.
    posted by shiu mai baby at 7:15 AM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I think it speaks volumes that, when the thread is finally winding down and people aren't speaking directly about you anymore, you come stomping back in.
    posted by CKmtl at 7:16 AM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


    First he seemed a little nutty, a little kooky. So people tried to edumacate him. Then he got defensive, and called in the wife. That got people going again. Now he comes back and drops the backwoods eccentric shtick and just acts like a dickhead. Who's the real Balisong? The world may never know. But he should probably wash his hair. And another helpful hint: go easy on the gravity bong, Michael Phelps! You've got kids to raise (negligently)!!
    posted by billysumday at 7:19 AM on February 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Nothing productive will happen this far into this metatalk thread. Nobody will change their mind. All it will be is namecalling and snark. If you are looking for a personal support group to reaffirm your positions, this metatalk thread ain't it.
    posted by Balisong at 7:19 AM on February 19, 2009


    "All it will be is namecalling and snark."

    I see many people continuing a rational and interested discussion like mature "adults". You are not one of them.
    posted by bunnycup at 7:21 AM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Fine. it's all yours.
    posted by Balisong at 7:22 AM on February 19, 2009


    You'd think that the immunosupperssed wouldn't go into germ factories like grocery stores and the park or the movies. Do you think that maybe they would let someone else do the shopping and get a netflix account?

    Wow, that's another really extreme and really privileged point of view.
    posted by Miko at 7:24 AM on February 19, 2009 [8 favorites]


    Nothing productive will happen this far into this metatalk thread.

    I disagree. I feel like hundreds of people have told you that you are ignorant of science, deeply selfish, and endangering the health of your children. Where else would you have had your personal views so directly contradicted and refuted? Probably not at the next knife show. All in all I think that's a good thing. Maybe you don't think that this thread is all that productive right now but I bet in a few months, after you cool down and get over how badly all of us meanies treated you on the internet, you might reconsider your decision in regards to the health of your children and push your wife, the head boss lady, to get the little ones up to snuff. Or at least I'd hope so.
    posted by billysumday at 7:28 AM on February 19, 2009


    We live in a society where people don't die from measles, mumps and polio anymore.

    I wonder through what magic we got to live in such a society.
    posted by chunking express at 7:39 AM on February 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


    my two year old daughter, who lives a thousand miles away from you, and spends most of her time in her room

    Like in The Ring?

    Balisong, I've enjoyed reading your comments here at Mefi, but this whole anti-modern medicine thing is completely chilling. I'm pretty skeptical of the health industry myself in some ways (especially the over-prescription of hard drugs for ADD an so on), but c'mon -- you're not a doctor, and depriving your kids of vaccination and check-ups just isn't right.
    posted by bardic at 7:46 AM on February 19, 2009


    If you are looking for a personal support group to reaffirm your positions, this metatalk thread ain't it.''

    what

    (I'm not looking for one, but with a few exceptions, this thread makes me slightly more optimistic about ... well ... pretty much anything.)
    posted by Dumsnill at 7:54 AM on February 19, 2009


    Look, Balisong and his wife are confident in their well-thought-out ability to be not only their children's teachers, but also their children's doctors and epidemiologists as well.

    So let's pack it in folks, and let Balisong get back to his hacky-sacking.
    posted by applemeat at 8:07 AM on February 19, 2009


    . Looking past those diseases to new ones.

    It is NOT Either/Or. This is a false dichotomy. It is NOT preventing past diseases OR curing new ones.

    I have epilepsy, which isn't on your list of examples of new diseases, probably because it's been around as long as the brain. Hell, dogs get epilepsy, so we can put it on the "old disease" list. Of course, as a congenital problem, we can't vaccinate against it. So, "curing" epilepsy will have to take a different track - one that scientists have been working on for eons. So far, in the middle ages, we (I speak in terms of humanity as a collective) have tried using the blood of executed criminals as a cure, but that didn't work out so well. Now, we've advanced a little further and are trying medication and surgical techniques, but we're really only barely getting to the "managing symptoms" stage and far from "curing" in the sense of one course of treatments that will prevent all future symptoms.

    So, clearly, need to work on this.

    But I would personally be damned if someone said "Oh, no one gets measles anymore. I'm going to stop producing measles vaccine and focus on epilepsy!"

    YOU NEED BOTH.

    To illustrate my point: I mentioned that I can't receive the DPT vaccine. I believe that I received a modified version giving me partial immunity against diptheria. I don't really know, I was nine months old. I *do* know, and it's documented in my medical records, that I can not receive any form of the pertussis vaccine because - guess what! - it induces seizures.

    Now. My parents knew I have epilepsy. They clearly did not give me a second dose of a vaccine that caused seizures. BUT. They DID give me EVERY. OTHER. vaccine because they knew the benefits far, far outweighed the risk.

    If everyone out there read that the pertussis vaccine could cause seizures and then stopped giving it to their kids, not only would *I* personally be fucked - because I am counting on EVERYONE ELSE to be vaccinated so that I don't get Whooping Cough - but we'd ALL be fucked because herd immunity would no longer exist.

    And how much research on preventing seizures do you think would get done in an outbreak of pertussis? Exactly none. The researchers would be too busy coughing and tending to their sick children. Not to mention the fact that future research would need to be spent on dealing with compromised respiratory systems due to the pertussis outbreak, which would detract from other fields like epilepsy or everyone's favorite, autism.

    People have likely been autistic since there have been people. That we have a word for it now and a checklist for diagnosis is huge progress in the medical community, but "curing" it is not going to start by ending vaccinations. You can't cure anything if you're trying to contain an epidemic - EXCEPT, of course, for the disease that's breaking out.

    Why do you think flu shots are given every year? Yes, it's for your own good as a person, but it's for the greater good mostly. It's to prevent a flu pandemic. More reading material: The Great Influenza describes the "Spanish Flu" pandemic. Read that. See if you want to go through it again.

    You may think that your children are more important than the herd, but what you're forgetting is that your children are part of the herd. Do you want your children to live in a world where millions of people die of a horrible disease that is entirely preventable? Do you want your children to be reduced to statistics in the event of a global pandemic?

    We're all part of the greater human community. We need to act like it once in a while. Vaccines are one of the few things that we can do that is not only for our own benefit as individuals but also to benefit EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. we come in contact with.

    When you think about the "immunocompromised," I hope you put your children on that list because from what you describe, not only are they not vaccinated, but they haven't been exposed to groups of people who would be carrying minor illnesses. I hope you keep them in a bubble, because their immune systems are not going to be able to handle a kindergarten full of kids who have all built up immunity to colds, the flu, and the chicken pox. Honestly, if you want to prevent your children from becoming seriously ill and your idea of good disease prevention is "every man for himself," keep 'em indoors. I mean it.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:32 AM on February 19, 2009 [27 favorites]


    Thanks for that great response, grapefruitmoon. Very, very well said.
    posted by shiu mai baby at 8:46 AM on February 19, 2009


    If your father or nephew caught anything from my two year old daughter, who lives a thousand miles away from you, and spends most of her time in her room, then they are the ones who have some explaining to do. Keep them the hell away from my daughter. [...] You can rail against people like me all you want, but you are a fucking idiot if you think that anything I could do or not has affected your family personally.

    You know perfectly well I was speaking metaphorically, you vapid twit. (You also have no idea where my father lives; in fact, he's frequently in the state you live in on business, and so could have easily come into random contact with your family). Acatually, scratch that: I'm not convinced you know that, because you've demonstrated such utter intellectual vacuity and dearth of knowledge (gussied up with some fancy talk from Mrs. Balisong that sure does SOUND logical and scientific!) that I bet you DON'T actually understand what I was getting at, do you? Let me be clear: you and your children risk anyone whose immune system is compromised. I and members of my family have been in that category. You and people like you in our own communities risked our lives every time we went out the front door. All clear?

    You'd think that the immunosupperssed wouldn't go into germ factories like grocery stores and the park or the movies. Do you think that maybe they would let someone else do the shopping and get a netflix account?

    What naked contempt you have for the lives of everyone other than your own immediate family! No wonder you can endanger others so recklessly -- you don't even get the other people are... people, do you? You know, actual human beings who love their children too, rather than two-dimensional cutouts who happen to appear in your line of vision occasionally and then cease to exist when they fall out of your line of vision?

    Do you seriously mean to suggest you really have no ability to even envision why anyone might still go out in public while they have immune problems? How about maybe because they have to go to doctor's appointments? Or work? Or because they dare to like being outside in the company of other people now and then (no doubt because they never received the shot in the arm that would turn them into smug, misanthropic, pseudo-intellectual, narcissistic quasi-hermit s free from the burden of having to exchange oxygen with the rest of humanity)?
    posted by scody at 9:11 AM on February 19, 2009 [13 favorites]


    I hope you keep them in a bubble, because their immune systems are not going to be able to handle a kindergarten full of kids who have all built up immunity to colds, the flu, and the chicken pox. Honestly, if you want to prevent your children from becoming seriously ill and your idea of good disease prevention is "every man for himself," keep 'em indoors. I mean it.

    Seriously, there is NO chance that these kids won't be homeschooled. None. I'd bet very good money.
    posted by tristeza at 9:12 AM on February 19, 2009


    scody, I see where you're coming from but at this point balisong is just trolling.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 AM on February 19, 2009


    Oh sure. Just as George W. Bush was pretty much just trolling the last 6 months or so of his presidency. But then, as now, I think there's still some virtue to pointing and saying "Danger: Ill-informed troll stubbornly playing dice with other people's lives while sarcastically cracking jokes about it."

    Though perhaps that's not an entirely fair comparison. Bush did have the decency (or at least the willingness to fake it) to stop with the jokes toward the end.
    posted by scody at 10:56 AM on February 19, 2009


    When you think about the "immunocompromised," I hope you put your children on that list because from what you describe, not only are they not vaccinated, but they haven't been exposed to groups of people who would be carrying minor illnesses. I hope you keep them in a bubble, because their immune systems are not going to be able to handle a kindergarten full of kids who have all built up immunity to colds, the flu, and the chicken pox. Honestly, if you want to prevent your children from becoming seriously ill and your idea of good disease prevention is "every man for himself," keep 'em indoors. I mean it.
    I saw that little gem too - a child that spends almost all her time in her room? That isn't a teenager? Not only has she not had the opportunity to be gain immunity via vaccination, she doesn't have the chance to build up a general immunity by being exposed to the world. In my (admittedly scientifically challenged and based on a vague intent to "toughen up" my kids) opinion, the best way to protect your kids health is to get them out mixing with every germ-laden kid in the neighbourhood, rolling down grassy hills, falling off bikes and climbing trees. Not only does this expose them to various bugs their body gets used to defending against, it helps stop them becoming wussy little pansies who have no ability to cope with the real world and end up spending all their time arguing with idiots on the Internet.

    Oh, wait ...
    posted by dg at 12:45 PM on February 19, 2009


    To be fair, dg, he said his daughter is two. That's a little young for trees and bikes.
    posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:58 PM on February 19, 2009


    he said his daughter is two. That's a little young for trees and bikes.

    I nanny for a 2 1/2 year old. She got her first bike (w/training wheels) this summer and she loves the hell out of it. She climbs like a monkey and one of her favorite things to do is to chase her five year old sister around the playground. She hangs out in the library, the aquarium, the Children's Museum, and the Museum of Science. She takes Mommy (or sometimes Nanny) and Me art classes, music classes, "baby gym," and is involved in a speech therapy program with a group of her "peers." She's on public transportation every day. The MBTA practically has "germ vector" written all over it.

    She's exposed to every single virus that is going around town at any point in time. And not only is her immune system pretty healthy, but being with her 30hrs/wk has certainly toughened up my *own* immune system. Friends of mine get colds and I don't even come down with a sniffle any more. I've gained immunity through *her* immunity, which she's been building up from *constant* exposure to other children and the great outdoors.

    2 1/2 isn't too young to start building up good health habits. She can blow her own nose and washes her hands every time she uses the potty. I'm still working on "cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze" but that's a more sophisticated concept. She's not at all too young to be in social settings or scraping her knees. In fact, I would wager that she's exposed to more viruses than your average high schooler just by virtue of the fact that she still has to grab the railings when she walks up or down the stairs and then immediately sticks her thumb in her mouth. Nothing I can do about either one - the thumb thing she'll grow out of, but for now it's a comfort issue, and she's really starting to assert her own independence and if I try to hold her hand in situations where there's something *else* for her to hold, you'd better believe there will be a tantrum.

    His daughter is plenty old enough to start building a healthy immune system.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:19 PM on February 19, 2009


    Nope, that's it. I WANT my kids to get autism now, and if a damn MMR vaccine won't give it to them, I'll find something else that can.

    What a goddamn troll. Someone please kick the soapbox out from under you.
    posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 PM on February 19, 2009


    you guys are being pretty nasty. and you're using Science! to back up your positions. perhaps a calm-down is practical here.
    posted by stubby phillips at 1:57 PM on February 19, 2009


    Well, I'm glad I'm the punching bag for now. Another one will come along shortly, I'm sure.

    How would anyone ever notice it, though, when you keep jumping up and down, waving your arms, and demanding attention?

    It does seem obvious that you are, indeed, glad you're the punching bag.
    posted by phearlez at 1:57 PM on February 19, 2009


    you guys are being pretty nasty. and you're using Science! to back up your positions.

    Hey, don't cast aspersions. Science! hasn't even been in this thread.
    posted by desjardins at 3:11 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Nothing productive will happen this far into this metatalk thread. Nobody will change their mind. All it will be is namecalling and snark. If you are looking for a personal support group to reaffirm your positions, this metatalk thread ain't it.

    ... is a very interesting assertion to make, considering you started this thread, and explicitly said at the top of this carnival of woe:

    [The MMR vaccine/autism] thread really isn't about me. I'm not the best spokesperson to defend my position. ... anyway, kick me around in here, and maybe some real discussion can happen in the thread.

    ... thereby inviting the informed logic and links that people have been stacking up in here.

    But where was the "real discussion"? Let's ignore the fact that you asked to be "kicked around" in this thread but then complained when that started happening. This late in the thread, as you put it, after all the information, after all the reasoned POV, your response is to telescope onto the perceived snark? I find this very confusing. Did you really start this thread to get a "real discussion" going, or to reinforce some kind of romanticized outsider persecution complex?

    We went from you saying vaccines are unsafe to you saying you're probably going to get your kids vaccinated. Huh? What was all this ... for? Whatever you sought to accomplish here, I hope you, at least, feel you gained something from it.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:37 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


    des, i never cast aspersions. i shoot them from my aspersion cannon. i like to criticize from a prudent distance.
    posted by stubby phillips at 3:45 PM on February 19, 2009


    I nanny for a 2 1/2 year old. She got her first bike... She climbs like a monkey

    I had a hypothesis that was shown to be false by your evidence. I stand corrected.

    SCIENCE WINS!
    posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:52 PM on February 19, 2009


    Well there is a big difference between a kid that isn't even 2 and a 2 1/2 year old. So i'm not sure science has won just yet.
    posted by chunking express at 4:52 PM on February 19, 2009


    SCIENCE IS WORKING ON IT!
    posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:54 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Well there is a big difference between a kid that isn't even 2 and a 2 1/2 year old. So i'm not sure science has won just yet.

    I studied a kid who was 2 years old for six months, and, at the end of that time, determined that the child was actually 2 1/2. There's your science for you.
    posted by Astro Zombie at 5:45 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


    I swore I would stay out of this nightmare thread, but I'll be at Hunter's wake tomorrow and Balisong, what you're saying is frankly revolting.

    I had always assumed that, regardless a person's individual concept of morality or how they came to those beliefs, moral human beings were aware of the "what if everybody did it?" test. You've already admitted that what enables you to make this choice is the relatively disease-free world we live in, courtesy of the small risks taken by all vaccinating parents in the interests of a safer community. The fact that you are willing to freeload on other parents' sometimes wrenching decision -- indeed, the fact that you seem incapable of seeing other parents as intelligent, thoughtful actors instead of props in some bizarre WAKE UP SHEEPLE fantasy -- does not demonstrate your care for your children but rather a deep, callous immaturity.

    Mrs. Range and I present at the tippy-top of the (statistically real) risk factors for having an autistic child. You can't imagine the sort of hand-wringing that provoked when it came time to decide what to do with our son given the current shots-cause-autism scares (granted, given your responses up-thread I'm convinced you really can't imagine, but I digress). In the end, even though we were terrified (and having read hundreds of pages of actual peer-reviewed studies courtesy of Google Scholar, and talking with several doctors at length), we vaccinated, not because we know it's 100% safe, but because not vaccinating fails the "what if everybody did it?" test.

    Your posts in this thread have undergone a really remarkable transformation. At the beginning you merely appeared ill-informed but well-intentioned, and I think the early posters really wanted to help you and your family (not to mention your neighbors). But your apparent emotional age has steadily declined from the top to the bottom of this page. Down here, you're misanthropic and unbelievably self-centered. I'm hoping that the extreme defensiveness we've seen the last dozen posts is the "anger" phase of your process and that you'll be able to read everyone's rational arguments upthread calmly someday.
    posted by range at 5:53 PM on February 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


    Here's the difference - in case you missed the thread being refered to, MMR vaccines have been proven to have no link to autism.

    In case you missed what I was saying, I'm talking about the period of time during which the possibility of an autism link was raised, but nobody had yet proven there is no link.

    What twaddle. There's no "side" to teaching evolution vs. creationism in public classrooms? There's no "side" to whether infections are caused by germs vs. witches? There's no "side" to whether you'll fall or fly if you jump off your roof?

    Life is not a football game, where we set up a black and white argument, choose a side to root for, and then hope that our side wins. That sort of construct can only exist in a functioning society if the outcome of the battle doesn't matter. Under that scenario, you can take whichever side makes you feel right, and fight for it with all your heart. No harm done.

    Does that stop us from wanting to have everything be a black and white issue? No, life is much easier if we think of it that way. Then we can take a position and stop thinking, and feel good about ourselves if we made the right choice.

    And that's the problem. "There are no sides" isn't a statement about the state of things; it's a statement about how we need to look at things. If you think in terms of sides, you're going to be reluctant to give up your position, even if you're wrong. That's counterproductive, and potentially harmful, because (as in all your examples) the outcome of the "battle" very much does matter.

    So my pithy statement was addressing the attitude of the person I was responding to, that there is an anti- side and a pro- side -- that we can't think that way, because then we run the risk of making the wrong choice. And, as I was speaking of, there's a window of time after new information of any kind is introduced -- even if that information turns out to be provably false -- that we have to be free to step back, judge the new information, test it, and adjust our worldview accordingly. If we take a side, our willingness and/or ability to objectively judge that new information is significantly hampered.

    In the case of vaccines, what if the study had proven a link? It didn't, and that's fantastic, but what if it did? What if the other "side" had been right? As evinced by the people still believing -- heck, still actively espousing -- things that have been proven wrong, we can't afford to take sides or we'll lose the objectivity that allows us to survive.

    And, at the end of the day, it's not that we want to be stubborn pricks who are incapable of changing our minds; that's simply the trap that we build for ourselves when we feel there's a side to be chosen at all, when we feel there's a need to defend our past judgements in the face of new evidence. What we all really want -- or would if we weren't so blinded by our need to be right -- is to have the truth come out so that we can act accordingly.

    So, there are no sides. It's a false construct to make us feel better that does harm, not good. To have a productive discussion about this, or anything else of importance, we cannot forget this.
    posted by davejay at 6:28 PM on February 19, 2009


    In case you missed what I was saying, I'm talking about the period of time during which the possibility of an autism link was raised, but nobody had yet proven there is no link.

    Again, you're basing your argument on what-ifs that leads us into a stiltifyingly paranoid territory. In order for a product to meet the criteria of safety, in this sense, it must be tested to see if it could cause any illness we could think of, and until it is tested and proven to have no link, it remains a possible cause of that illness and is therefore unsafe. It's easy to see why this perspective would make life impossible.

    A more reasonable position is to note strong signs of a causal link between the product and an adverse effect first of all. This is the problem with the anti-vaccine arguments - no such strong causal link is made, especially not in this thread. There's a distrust of "Big Pharma", and that's pretty much it. Vaccines have been rigorously tested and shown to have no link to autism. Therefore this "period of time" when there might have been a causal link to autism is irrelevant - this thread takes place in the present tense; not in the past.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:40 PM on February 19, 2009


    I had always assumed that, regardless a person's individual concept of morality or how they came to those beliefs, moral human beings were aware of the "what if everybody did it?" test.

    Question: What else fails this "what if everybody did it? test"?

    Partial Answer:
    going fishing;
    going hunting;
    driving automobiles;
    traveling in airplanes;
    living in a home that consumes anywhere near (the U.S. average) 936 kWh of electricity per year;
    consuming anywhere near (the U.S. average) 159 gallons (601 liters) of water per day per person;
    generally maintaining the standard of living common in the U.S.A, western Europe, Japan, and many other developed nations;
    etc.

    Who has the right answer for all the questions on the "what if everybody did it? test"? How moral are you? When will you stop doing everything that fails the "what if everybody did it? test"? THINK OF THE HERD!

    When you are scoring a 100% on the "what if everybody did it? test", please lecture the rest of us on how to be more like you. Until then, I suggest that even if you keep on believing in your moral superiority, you could try be humble about it.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 6:58 PM on February 19, 2009


    What if the other "side" had been right?

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day... They would be right, but not for any good reason.
    posted by gjc at 7:34 PM on February 19, 2009


    note strong signs of a causal link between the product and an adverse effect

    All vaccines cause adverse reactions in some individuals. There is some arbitrary threshold below which they are considered safe enough, but they are not 100% safe or 100% effective. It is imperative that there be some mechanism for safeguarding the weakest among us from those adverse reactions, or at the very least to compensate those who have been killed or injured for the greater good. There was no such thing until the 1980s when the National Vaccine Compensation Program was created by law over the strenuous objection of drug companies.

    It is very naive to assume that drug companies will self-regulate, and naive to assume that there will not be influence exerted on regulators by the industry it regulates. Medical science is not immune. Here is commentary and link to a new (Feb 2009) study in the British Medical Journal by an MD demonstrating drug industry pressure on medical publications.

    Here is commentary on the new health risks, up to and including death, for Gardasil, a vaccine for cervical cancer that was fast-tracked by the FDA in 2006.

    Both links are from the blog of Barbara Loe Fisher, co-author of DTP: A Shot in the Dark, without whom you all would no doubt still be receiving whole-cell Pertussis vaccine that was deemed good enough and safe enough for decades.
    posted by BinGregory at 7:36 PM on February 19, 2009


    That's nice, BinGregory, but I never asserted that vaccines were 100% safe for all people in all situations. Nor did I say that drug companies will or should self-regulate. I heart the FDA, and had there been a stronger tendency towards regulation, perhaps Prozac wouldn't have been practically sitting in candy dishes in therapist offices across the country. What I'm addressing is the irresponsible and borderline paranoid position on vaccines across the board, the baby-with-the-bathwater (so to speak) reaction.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:47 PM on February 19, 2009


    Andrew Wakefield defends his research in a Spectator article by Melanie Phillips:
    I stand by everything I have written and the conclusions I have previously reached: that the clinical jury is still out on the risks of MMR; that the epidemiological research on which the claims are based that it has conclusively been proved to be safe is at best methodologically inadequate and at worst has been misleadingly spun; that although any link to MMR remains unproven, Wakefield’s Lancet findings of a new clinical syndrome have been replicated; and that far from being, as it is claimed, conclusively disproved, his concern that while the vast majority of children have no side effects from MMR a small proportion may be vulnerable through the impact of the vaccine on some kind of pre-existing vulnerability looks ever more plausible.
    posted by BinGregory at 7:58 PM on February 19, 2009


    Melanie Phillips? "[T]he MMR sceptic who just doesn't understand science"?
    posted by ltracey at 8:03 PM on February 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


    The deficiencies in vaccine safety studies were later reinforced by the systematic analysis of Dr. Thomas Jefferson and colleagues from the Cochrane Collaboration, an internationally respected body that provides independent scientific oversight. They wrote, “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre and postmarketing is largely inadequate” [134]. In an interview with Richard Halvorsen for his book The Truth about Vaccines, [155] one of the lead authors of the Cochrane review left no doubt as to his true feelings when he said, “The safety studies of MMR vaccine are crap. They’re the best crap we have but they’re still crap” [156].(PDF)
    posted by BinGregory at 8:06 PM on February 19, 2009


    What if everybody did it?

    Well, most of these things are available for everybody to do. So there need to be measures in place to be sure that people are doing them responsibly.

    going fishing: we'd have to establish review boards of ecologists, economists, and biologists and develop a system of fisheries management and licensing with ongoing study. Check.
    going hunting: we'd have to establish review boards of ecologists, economists, and biologists and develop a system of wildlife management and licensing with ongoing study. Check.
    driving automobiles: we'd have to establish agreed-upon limits and encode them in a body of enforceable law, and require licensing and insurance. Check.
    traveling in airplanes: we'd have to establish oversight agencies for safety, traffic control, and certification and require licensing and insurance, and create a body of enforceable law to govern the use of air vehicles. Check
    living in a home that consumes anywhere near (the U.S. average) 936 kWh of electricity per year: We have to develop infrastructure and safety measures to be sure that we can generate and transmit that much power. Check.
    consuming anywhere near (the U.S. average) 159 gallons (601 liters) of water per day per person: We have to be sure we have systems for finding and transporting that much water, and establish bodies for oversight of water resources. Check.
    generally maintaining the standard of living common in the U.S.A, western Europe, Japan, and many other developed nations: We have either keep finding ways to maintain that standard of living or, if it's not possible to maintain it, reduce the resource demand of that standard of living. Ongoing.

    I don't get the argument; it seems like an argument for vaccination rather than against it, because it so well illustrates that when there is a collective risk to society, there is a collective solution in which we're required by citizenship to participate.
    posted by Miko at 8:24 PM on February 19, 2009


    ltracey: She's a journalist. Would you prefer the dialog between Dr. Andrew Wakefield and the journalist who has been persecuting him?
    W: Below is a list of the allegations made by Brain Deer against me, received on Friday 6th February 2009, 2 days prior to his publishing in the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper.

    Dear Dr Wakefield,

    I'm directed by editors managing my investigation of the MMR matter for The Sunday Times to inform you that we intend to publish further on this topic, and particularly on your role in it. It is now some five years since I first sought to discuss with you your work, and I've made numerous attempts to do so. As you will appreciate, the safety of children by means of vaccination is an unparalleled issue of public interest and concern.

    As you will know, not least as a result of our concurrent attendance at the General Medical Council fitness to practise hearing into your conduct, I'm now extremely familiar with the precise medical histories, diagnoses and so forth of the children enrolled for your study, published in the Lancet on 28 February 1998. Based on this knowledge, and other sources of information, including the cooperation of families enrolled in your research, I must put to you, for your response, a number of serious matters.

    (1)That you repeatedly, and without justification, changed and misreported findings from those children for publication in the Lancet.

    I cite, for instance, three children who you represented as having regressive autism, who in fact had Asperger's disorder, or in one of those cases PDAS, which are not regressive and involve no loss of language or other basic skills. You claim that the paper is a series of "previously normal" children, but medical records - which you had a duty to read and understand - show that some five of the 12 children were subject to concerns prior to vaccination, and were not "normal". Other children, who you claimed to have suffered their first "behavioural symptoms" within days of vaccination, in fact had none for months. In the cases of some 8 children - two thirds of the total - you changed normal histopathology results to abnormal results, in a so-called "research review", despite claiming that the series was merely a clinical report.


    W: The diagnoses reported in the Lancet were accurate based upon the information provided to the clinicians and review of the available records. (I) Where there was considered to be a pre-existing developmental problem, this was accurately reported in the Lancet paper. (II) This is not the place to get into a detailed discussion on developmental regression which is still a subject of debate [among? - BG] experts in child development and is certainly not something about which Deer has any expertise.

    It is a matter of fact that I did not play any part whatsoever in making the microscopic diagnoses of inflammation on any biopsy from any child investigated at the Royal Free Hospital. Intestinal tissues were examined, and the children’s pathology documented, by two doctors (not me) employed in the Department of Histopathology who were experienced in bowel disease, using an agreed protocol to ensure rigor and consistency . These doctors were co-authors on the paper. The same tissues were reviewed by Professor Walker-Smith and his team. I merely entered the documented findings into the Lancet paper. I did not “change” any findings as alleged. The paper was then reviewed by the relevant authors prior to submission to the Lancet in order to confirm that the diagnoses were correct. The findings reported in the Lancet are, in the opinion of the relevant authors, correct. This is a matter of record at the GMC.
    That quote, and the rest of the dialog, is in Phillips' article. She doesn't understand muslims either, but that doesn't stop me from garnering useful information wherever it may present itself.
    posted by BinGregory at 8:26 PM on February 19, 2009


    The study BinGregory cites that sort of pulls authority from the Cochrane Collaboration is one thing, but then there's what the Cochrane Collaboration actually says:
    No credible evidence of an involvement of MMR with either autism or Crohn's disease was found. No field studies of the vaccine's effectiveness were found but the impact of mass immunisation on the elimination of the diseases has been demonstrated worldwide.
    Another nice PDF from them:
    The Cochrane Collaboration publishes the most thorough survey of MMR vaccination which strongly supports its use. There was no credible evidence behind claims of harm from the MMR vaccination.

    This is the conclusion drawn by the Cochrane Review Authors, an international team
    of researchers, after carefully drawing together all of the evidence found in 31 high
    quality studies from around the world. They also highlight that the policy of
    encouraging mass use of MMR has eliminated the scourge of measles, mumps and
    rubella from many countries.

    “In particular we conclude that all the major unintended events, such as triggering
    Crohn’s disease or autism, were suspected on the basis of unreliable evidence,” says
    lead author Dr Vittorio Demicheli ...

    “Public health decisions need to be based on sound evidence. If this principle had
    been applied in the case of the MMR dispute, then we would have avoided all the
    fuss,” says Demicheli.

    The success of the large-scale vaccination programmes in developed countries has
    tended to induce a sense of complacency, but measles, mumps and rubella are serious
    diseases that can cause permanent physical damage or even kill. Indeed, in developing
    countries where vaccination is less prevalent, the mortality rate from these diseases is
    high.

    The MMR vaccine was introduced in the USA in the 1970s and is now in use in over
    90 countries around the world. A single research paper published in 1998 based on 12
    children cast doubt on the safety of the vaccine by implying that it might cause
    development problems like Crohn’s disease and autism². The paper has since been
    retracted by most of the original authors, but before that it triggered a worldwide
    scare, which in turn resulted in reduced uptake of the vaccine³.

    Aware of the controversy surrounding the use of MMR, members of The Cochrane
    Collaboration set out to review the evidence for effectiveness of the vaccine and also
    to review evidence of adverse events. In a process of ‘systematic reviewing’
    researchers searched international databases and found 139 articles about MMR use.
    Because many of them referred to studies that had been conducted in a way that could
    not rule out bias or error, the researchers discarded all but 31 of them. Using
    rigorously established methods the researchers then synthesised the findings from
    these pieces of higher-quality research to create the most authoritative assessment yet
    available.

    The systematic review’s key findings are that:

    1. There is no credible link between the MMR vaccine and any long-term disability,
    including Crohn’s disease and autism.


    2. MMR is an important vaccine that has prevented diseases that still carry a heavy
    burden of death and complications where the vaccine is not used consistently.

    3. The lack of confidence in MMR has caused great damage to public health.

    4. People arguing for or against the use of any therapy need to make sure that t
    heybase their conclusions on carefully collected evidence, not just on biased opinion,
    speculation or suspicion.

    If you respect the Cochrane group and what they do enough to cite them, then you should be supporting the MMR vaccine -- becuase their analysis is saying that despite the existence of some poorly constructed studies, the evidence strongly supports the use of MMR vaccines and points to no correlation with autism risk.
    posted by Miko at 8:36 PM on February 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


    Aw snap!
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:37 PM on February 19, 2009


    I'll just leave this here.
    posted by mullingitover at 9:01 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Miko, you are either being disingenuous (again) or naive if you are actually claiming that every person could do any of the things that you "checked". Modern transportation produces unsustainable quantities of pollution, besides the logistics of every person driving a car being totally unmanageable. The levels of water and electricity consumption in the USA would be entirely unsustainable on a global scale. Every nation and every person has a right (within legal means) to try to achieve, immediately, the standard of living in the USA, but on a global scale it simply would not be sustainable with currently available technologies and resource levels.

    Certain activities (e.g., hunting, fishing, not vaccinating children, etc.,) have been practiced for tens of thousands of years and have not yet posed an existential threat to humans. Other activities (e.g., some activities associated with the standard of living common in the USA, Western Europe, Japan, etc.,) seem to pose a cataclysmic threat to humanity by contributing to unhealthy levels of pollution and global climate change. One could make a reasonable argument for the "moral" course of action to be a return to agrarianism. Moral outrage over someone practicing one of the ancient "not everybody could do it" items, while ignoring or justifying one's own practice of the newer "not everybody could do it" items is a moral relativism of the self-satisfied Mefites.

    The argument made upthread that it is reasonable to insist that children be vaccinated against varicella zoster so that pregnant women have less risk of getting chicken pox is nonsense. Considering that studies have shown that circumcision may reduce the risk of HIV infection in males in some African countries, should circumcision be mandated of all male children to reduce the risk to Argyle's daughter?

    I have stated many times that I understand the benefits and rationale for childhood vaccinations (particularly MMR). I also understand that it is an individual's responsibility to manage risk for herself/himself and her/his children. Most important to me is the understanding that given the aim of balancing individuals' rights and society's interests, a pro-choice stance on childhood vaccination is entirely reasonable.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 10:06 PM on February 19, 2009


    What I'm addressing is the irresponsible and borderline paranoid position on vaccines across the board, the baby-with-the-bathwater (so to speak) reaction.

    What I'm addressing is the paternalistic and heavy-handed vaccine-public health complex that seeks to wrest control of serious individual medical decisions from the individual to the state, evade corporate responsibility and treat nations of millions like homogeneous entities. Informed consent, freedom of choice in invasive medical procedures, and treating the patient as an individual for whom the physician must first do no harm are cornerstones of medical ethics, but these are threatened by the vaccine manufacturers and the public health authorities they influence.
    posted by BinGregory at 10:09 PM on February 19, 2009


    Moral outrage over someone practicing one of the ancient "not everybody could do it" items, while ignoring or justifying one's own practice of the newer "not everybody could do it" items is a moral relativism of the self-satisfied Mefites.

    That's a pretty heavy charge to level based on the word game you started there. The point with regards to "what if everyone did it?" has obviously flexibility that only a pedant would ignore, and doesn't discredit the point that Balisong is by his own admission relying on "the herd" to stay vaccinated and stay swaddled around his children at all times. If everyone followed his lead, yes, we'd run into trouble.

    What I'm addressing is the paternalistic and heavy-handed vaccine-public health complex that seeks to wrest control of serious individual medical decisions from the individual to the state, evade corporate responsibility and treat nations of millions like homogeneous entities.

    As Balisong's demonstrated, people still do have a lot of freedom in this area. Unless the Vaccine Police have kicked down his door and dragged him away since his last post. People also have the freedom to criticize him, especially in the thread that he created for that very purpose.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:14 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Many, many commenters in this thread and the blue one have advocated or been open to exactly something like the Vaccine Police. You yourself told me that I do not have the right to not vaccinate my children. I presume you meant I should not, but that is not any better; rather than simply being mistaken about my rights, you are calling for their curtailment.
    posted by BinGregory at 10:42 PM on February 19, 2009


    Many, many commenters in this thread and the blue one have advocated or been open to exactly something like the Vaccine Police. You yourself told me that I do not have the right to not vaccinate my children. I presume you meant I should not, but that is not any better; rather than simply being mistaken about my rights, you are calling for their curtailment.

    First of all, what I was responding to in saying "people still do have a lot of freedom in this area" was that your paranoid dystopian fantasies of the state wresting control over our bodies out of our hands and into the evil clutches of Big Pharma are far-fetched at best. You still have the freedom to go Ted Kaczinski and deny science, if you want.

    Secondly, here's what I said with regard to "your rights":

    "No, the parent doesn't get to decide if s/he exposes his/her child to dangerous pathogens, or become a petri dish of pathogens for people with poor immune systems."

    Is there something wrong with this sentiment? Because I personally don't see it, and your disingenuous interprettations of what I write are getting tiresome.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:50 PM on February 19, 2009


    That's a pretty heavy charge to level based on the word game you started there

    I would point out that I didn't start the "word game." Having studied philosophy, I do not recall having ever come across a serious proposition of the "what if everybody did it? test". It is certainly a very different premise than something like the categorical imperative. I was attempting to show the obvious problems with advocating the "what if everybody did it? test". I would also note that moral relativism isn't necessarily an undesirable thing. I, for one, prefer it to moral absolutism.

    I was taking a jab at some Mefites who seem to think that fervently wishing something were so makes it so. Apologies if my rhetoric personally offended anyone.
    posted by McGuillicuddy at 10:55 PM on February 19, 2009


    No offense taken here.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:00 PM on February 19, 2009


    Most important to me is the understanding that given the aim of balancing individuals' rights and society's interests, a pro-choice stance on childhood vaccination is entirely reasonable.

    Pro-choice, if you educate the population properly. The population must vaccinate against the Big Killers: diseases that wrought great destruction on our society time and again. It would be godawful stupid to go back to that time. Other vaccinations, not so important.

    When proper facts are on the table and the history and potential consequences pro and con is a properly provided, it'd be the rare sociopath that declines the Big Killer vaccinations.
    posted by five fresh fish at 11:03 PM on February 19, 2009


    I said: The parent must have the choice.

    You said: No, the parent doesn't get to decide...

    I apologize if I misinterpreted that. I see that you were just expressing a sentiment, not telling me my rights or calling for a change in public policy. Fine then. Nonetheless, fearing that they might be further restricted is hardly paranoid. New York is going through a process to decide if philosophical objection will be accepted right now, and it is a going concern in numerous states around the country. As mentioned upthread, parents' rights to informed consent are restricted in many states: only 18 allow philosophical objection. Anyway, I've said my piece, so if you're getting tired, then I'll retire.
    posted by BinGregory at 11:20 PM on February 19, 2009


    Does the state have a right to force you to provide food for your child?
    posted by empath at 11:53 PM on February 19, 2009


    I think we're all pretty clear about that one, empath. The issue we've been discussing here is quite a bit more nuanced due to the issues of medical ethics I brought up, specifically, the issue of informed consent and the doctor's imperative to treat the individual patient in front of him.
    posted by BinGregory at 12:04 AM on February 20, 2009


    I for one welcome our paternalistic and heavy-handed vaccine-public health complex overlords.



    But I hope not everyone does it.
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:54 AM on February 20, 2009


    Apologies if my rhetoric personally offended anyone.

    No offense at all, other than to a general sense of logic. Miko already spelled this out, but just to summarize, half of your objections are the basis of economics and the other half are already regulated because of exactly the problems you're implying. I think it's pretty fair to call throwing out a pile of alleged counter-examples that fall apart on closer examination a word game, or at least a distraction.

    I'd also just point out that "what if everybody did it?" is a pretty natural consequence of the Golden Rule, and, I'd argue, a rewording of the same premise.

    What is the frustrating part here, at least for me, is the tendency to label those of us advocating for vaccination in general as Agents of Big Pharma and pro-jackbooted-government-thugs. In reality, there are an enormous number of people who hate giving their kids drugs, are terrified of the risks (some real, some unknown, some disproved but still believed in) posed by vaccines, and yet recognize that those fears are greatly outweighed by the greater social good of a healthier community.

    Is there room to argue at the margins of this? Of course -- but a debate over vaccinating for Hep B at birth or for Varicella is very different than making a blanket argument that all vaccines are a scam perpetrated on the ignorant masses by Big Pharma.
    posted by range at 5:38 AM on February 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


    I'm also not offended (why would I be?). I felt obliged to point out that the list of things that would be disastrous if everybody did them was a distraction and doesn't advance your argument. The fact is that all of these things would be detrimental to the health of society if they were unregulated. However, they're not. We've evolved systems which place various burdens on individuals and on states to ensure that they can be done without incurring the detriment (or without as harmful a detriment). That's the nature of a civil society. Your list didn't contain anything that isn't touched on already by areas of law, and I expect that will continue in all of those cases. There is potential for harm, so there is a legal, civil response to contain the harm.

    Vaccination is just another area where we have evolved these systems to contain harm. The state requires people to vaccinate their children unless they go through a legal process, mandated by the state, that allows them to obtain an exemption. That process allows the state to know who has not been vaccinated, which strikes me as vital information in times of epidemic. The state requires children to be vaccinated if they are going to be in certain settings known to be disease incubators (schools, camps) unless the exemption has been obtained. These are good ideas.

    Yes, I'd personally be in favor of the state going further and making exemptions harder to obtain, but I recognize that it begins to run up against a first amendment challenge with freedom of religion. So I'd also be in favor of tightening regulations for schools, day cares, camps, etc. to minimize the number of unvaccinated students who can use those services, perhaps limiting them to those who have a medical objection. That would leave private religious education or homeschooling as options for those who have religious or philosophical objections to vaccination. But it does seem important to me to more strongly discourage this area which I would argue falls farther outside the realm of parental choice than most parenting issues. As empath points out, you can't make a philosophical choice not to feed your children. You can't make a philosophical choice to abuse or engage in sexual activity with your children or other people's children. You can't make a philosophical choice to refuse to educate your children. In most locales you can't even have an attractive nuisance in your yard which threatens the safety of children not your own. Given the clear, overwhelming support among the world health community for vaccination, strong state support for vaccination seems entirely warranted.
    posted by Miko at 6:03 AM on February 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


    I guess I'll join this 500+ comment argument. I think the people who answered the question could have stated their opinions in a much more tasteful manner, but I don't think it was meant as a serious death wish.

    Anyway, people who are anti-vac (I'm pro-vac) don't see it so much as a conspiracy by the pharmacies or the government to kill/poison/handicap children. My mom was anti-vac for a long time, attributing it to my little sister's autism. She, and most of the articles she showed me, cited it as a case of government bureaucracy and corporate irresponsibility. She wasn't 100% anti-vac, instead saying vaccinations should be spaced out over a child's development.

    Personally, I think autism is probably 90% genetics, and 10% environment in early development. Some of the genes likely make people more neurologically susceptible to environmental hazards, such as mercury. I am not a neurologist or a researcher of any kind, but I think there has to be an environmental factor as the numbers are changing. It's not just expanded/better diagnosis, as the overall numbers are going up, not just a proportionate drop in the per capita amount of people labeled "Mentally Handicapped/Challenged/Retarded." However, I think it also can't be universal, as much more of the population would have it, since we all breathe the same air.

    I think everyone who has no medically valid excuse to not be vaccinated should be vaccinated, so that the people who shouldn't be vaccinated are safe. Just avoiding a vaccine because you feel it raises the chances of your child being autistic, when you have no other evidence that your child is any less likely to become autistic than the 99.4% of children who get a vaccine and remain neurotypical through life.
    posted by mccarty.tim at 6:33 AM on February 20, 2009


    What I'm addressing is the paternalistic and heavy-handed

    I don't see anything wrong with paternalistic legislation when the behavior that's being legislated against is sufficiently misguided, as with vaccination or helmet laws. That's a neat thing about law; it can take somebody who's a mouth-breathing idiot and get them to behave otherwise.

    We can certainly quibble about where the line is or what the edge cases are. All I'm saying is that vaccination, bar medical contraindication, is below that line; bringing up other cases closer to the line would only be offering a distraction.

    vaccine-public health complex that seeks to wrest control of serious individual medical decisions from the individual to the state,

    That generalization is the equivalent of scare quotes, presumably intended to get people thinking OMG WTF WHUT IF THE GUBMINT MAKES ME GIVE MY KIDNEY TO SOMEONE EVERBODY PANIC.

    What you really mean is "to wrest control of some but not all vaccination decisions."

    Informed consent

    The children can't provide it anyway. And we already understand that the State can provide consent for things that the parents do not consent to, though it must consider only that individual child's welfare. Which means an objective State (or judge) objectively balancing the objective risks from vaccination and the relevant disease, as opposed to emotional hystrionics and irrational risk-avoidance and -acceptance.

    freedom of choice in invasive medical procedures

    Where communicable diseases are concerned, freedom of choice has always been more circumscribed than with medical decisions that do not affect the public, and parents choices to deny treatments to their children have always been under some degree of State supervision.

    and treating the patient as an individual for whom the physician must first do no harm

    The overwhelming support for vaccination among licensed physicians, as well as the very low rate of nontrivial complications, argues against treating them as "harm," bar medical contraindication.
    posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:02 AM on February 20, 2009


    With respect for your thoughtful comment (and I agree completely with your conclusion), I've never found this argument completely convincing:

    It's not just expanded/better diagnosis, as the overall numbers are going up, not just a proportionate drop in the per capita amount of people labeled "Mentally Handicapped/Challenged/Retarded."

    I don't think you can arrive at a statement of a real increase just by noting that there hasn't been a proportional drop in catchall categories of developmental disability. I can think of a number of children I grew up with who, I later learned during my teacher education, were readily classifiable as on the autistic spectrum (PDDs), yet who never received a special needs diagnosis of any kind and are now living independently as adults today. Some have gone on to receive diagnoses related to the spectrum, some have not and don't think they apply. I think a large number of cases now given the autistic-spectrum designation would, in the passed, have been classed with normal students. In addition, the overall numbers of special needs children in all categories has risen, and the reasons for this are social and political at least as much as environmental. We have many more aggressive programs for spotting special needs at every age; more data; better teacher education; more specialized professional services; school structures that are federally and state mandated to serve populations in need of support; and a disability-advocacy community with tremendous legal support and public funding support. For all of these reasons, we just plain have more diagnosed kids of all stripes than ever before.

    To some degree, the social construction of disease diagnoses doesn't always match biological markers clearly. Autism didn't even have a name before the 1940s. Some people on the mild end went untreated and most likely were just considered 'odd,' 'awkward,' or 'eccentric'; some on the severe end were often allowed to die in toddlerhood and/or sent to institutions; people with moderate cases had various experiences but were probably not in the public education system and not touched on by matters of law. It's hard to make determinations about the historical levels of occurrence of many disease because of the different conditions of society and the medical field - it's hard even for cancer, where you can show a tiny increase over the past 100 years but nothing like the angle one would expect anecdotally - even harder for a more-recently-identifed set of symptoms whose causes are not well understood.

    In short, I'm not sure there's been an increase. There may have been but before taking that for granted I would want to know more about the historical models being used and whether the obvious holes in the theory that it's a new disorder have been accounted for.
    posted by Miko at 7:08 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


    In addition, the overall numbers of special needs children in all categories has risen, and the reasons for this are social and political at least as much as environmental. We have many more aggressive programs for spotting special needs at every age; more data; better teacher education; more specialized professional services; school structures that are federally and state mandated to serve populations in need of support; and a disability-advocacy community with tremendous legal support and public funding support. For all of these reasons, we just plain have more diagnosed kids of all stripes than ever before.

    Miko, I get what you're saying here, but my understanding is that the numbers have continued to increase at a greater rate than can be written off as "better diagnoses." In other words, the tools used to diagnose the spectrum of PDDs are new-ish, but even with those in place the number of identified cases of autism continues to grow at an exponential rate, with no signs of slowing, much less leveling off.
    posted by shiu mai baby at 7:37 AM on February 20, 2009


    Damn that chart is scary. My plan is to travel back in time to have my babies.
    posted by chunking express at 8:01 AM on February 20, 2009


    even with those in place the number of identified cases of autism continues to grow at an exponential rate, with no signs of slowing

    I see that that many be, but there's only been one major study indicating that you can't account for the rise with only increased diagnosis as a factor. I'd like to read around a bit more about it, but this is in the conjecture area. I'd still like to see more investigation - but that's exactly the point. Since we have absolutely no idea what causes this disease beyond a strong genetic predisposition interacting to a small degree with unknown environmental factors, the basic problem is that people are casting about for solutions. Autism used to be blamed on bad mothering. Today, we don't do that to mothers, at least not directly, so now it's vaccines (MOM.). Regardless of the incidence, until we know the causes, we won't be able to do anything about the degree of incidence. It doesn't stand to reason to me that autism will grow and grow until all children are autistic, though, and a 20-year increase is a blip compared to historical experience of human development.
    posted by Miko at 8:34 AM on February 20, 2009


    People love to blame vaccinations for problems, and completely ignore coal-burning power plants (huge mercury release, plus other heavy metals and poisons). Leaded gasoline (crime rates track downward with the banning of leaded gasoline). The consumption of chemically-laden foods. Hell, the consumption of foods that are completely artificial. The outgassing of all the plastic shit in our homes.

    No, it's all vaccination's fault.
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:56 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


    It's also pretty interesting that of the 10 states with the lowest rates of diagnosed autism, seven are also in the 10 states with lowest median household income, and all but one (CO) are in the bottom half. Why the uneven distribution? Is it a coincidence that the wealthiest states have the most autism diagnoses? If it's on the rise, why not everywhere? Is there an exposure to an environmental condition that correlates with wealth? It wouldn't be vaccines, because that's one thing that even the poorest children have covered - I suspect it's more the wealthier contingent of families that forego vaccine by choice, so if vaccine were the cause it should appear as much or more in poor populations as it does in wealthy.

    Complicated.
    posted by Miko at 9:00 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Not complicated. Clearly, excess amounts of money correlate with autism. Redistribution of wealth is the best way to protect our children.
    posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:25 AM on February 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Perhaps one factor in the wealthiest states having the highest rates of *diagnosed* autism is that the wealthiest parents can afford more testing and therapy for special needs children, especially children on the autism spectrum, whereas families in poorer states lack access to a lot of resources in this area.

    I worked with an undiagnosed autistic child (he was not, at the time I worked with him, formally diagnosed by an MD, but our preschool program had defined him as "within the autistic spectrum" and truly, his behavior fit autistic patterns) in a working class setting and while he had access to special-needs programming, they were only for an hour a week. For the other thirty-nine hours (or more) that he was in a child care setting, they were in a preschool full of neurotypical children and untrained staff. As one of the untrained staff, I felt horrible that not only did the discipline methods used on NT children not work with him (I had to hold one of his hands when we walked outside and even then, he would poke children in the eye with his other hand.) but I had no idea what I should be doing differently to connect with him. I was totally, totally unable to help him in any meaningful way, even in the ordinary day to day stuff.

    A wealthier family could easily have afforded to send him to a preschool with trained staff rather than one where he was lumped in with kids who themselves had severe behavior issues (though usually caused by parental neglect, not developmental/medical problems). A wealthier family also would have provided more energy visiting specialists to obtain a proper diagnosis other than "Well, he needs some help socializing."

    I'm not saying that the phenomenon can be generalized to "poor people can't afford specialists to provide proper diagnosis of autism" but rather, I think it's one factor to explain the disparity between the poor vs. wealthy states difference in autism diagnoses.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:38 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Is it a coincidence that the wealthiest states have the most autism diagnoses?

    Because wealthier, yuppie parents who have the luxury of obsessive introspection can pay more hovering, neurotic attention to their gifted little darlings?
    posted by applemeat at 9:40 AM on February 20, 2009


    The outgassing of all the plastic shit in our homes.

    Here in Seattle, we have Gas Works Park, a former refining plant, reclaimed into a city park. All along the waterfront are warning signs about the dangers of the contaminated silt, and yet I see lots of parents bring their children to the park, feed them some all organic apple slices, and then send them off barefoot to play right next to the warning sign.
    posted by nomisxid at 9:51 AM on February 20, 2009


    No, it's all vaccination's fault.

    You don't honestly expect someone who reads "You are growing tiresome" and understands it as "I am getting tired" to be able to pull the zoom lens back, do you?
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:54 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


    It would also be interesting to see the correlation between incidence and average maternal and paternal age at birth. There seem to be strong linkages between parental age and incidence of autism in the recent literature. Is autism related to genetic damage? That doesn't seem far-fetched to me at all.
    posted by bonehead at 10:20 AM on February 20, 2009


    It would also be interesting to see the correlation between incidence and average maternal and paternal age at birth.

    Yes, definitely. There are correlations between high maternal age and trisomy 21 (Down's Syndrome), to be sure. Also wealthier parents are far more likely to wait later to have children, and also have fewer children, than middle/working class parents.

    High maternal/paternal age increases risk for a lot of congenital disorders, it would be interesting to see if this held true for autism as well.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:35 AM on February 20, 2009


    Autism Risk Rises with Age of Father.
    posted by scody at 10:40 AM on February 20, 2009


    Why We Immunize
    posted by maudlin at 11:59 AM on February 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


    From maudlin's (excellent) link:
    Before the diphtheria immunization became common, the United States had some 200,000 cases and 15,000 deaths per year from the disease, 80% of them children. Post-immunization: 41 total reported cases in the US from 1980 to 1995.
    Anyone who can look at statistics like that and still bleat "but vaccines haven't been shown to be SAFE!!!!" should be forced to wear a scarlet letter B for "brainless." It's so breathtakingly stupid -- really, there is no other word for it, no polite way to describe the total unmooring from fact-based reality and elementary reasoning -- as to beggar belief.
    posted by scody at 12:17 PM on February 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


    Maudlin's link is fucking awesome. "The 1911 measles epidemic killed 5% of the US Army." What?
    posted by chunking express at 12:33 PM on February 20, 2009


    Anyone who can look at statistics like that and still bleat "but vaccines haven't been shown to be SAFE!!!!" should be forced to wear a scarlet letter B for "brainless."

    I think a lot of people don't realize that not only the vitamin pills we pop, but even a whole bunch of the food we regularly ingest, has never been "shown to be SAFE!!". At best, some food additives are Generally Recognized as Safe, but those standards have varied; at worst, there are common foods which can kill you at the right dosage.
    posted by Miko at 12:40 PM on February 20, 2009


    there are common foods which can kill you at the right dosage.

    Heh, this would have been a handy argument to make when I was a kid. "Mom, large doses of meatloaf have never been shown to be SAFE."
    posted by scody at 12:43 PM on February 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


    "Mom, large doses of meatloaf have never been shown to be SAFE."

    But think of the chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiildren. Sure, it may be better for your kids not to eat meatloaf, but if everyone did that, we'd have horrible leftover problems.

    For instance, EVERY CHILD in Africa could STARVE! Do you want that on your conscience? Do you?
    posted by bonehead at 1:17 PM on February 20, 2009


    Heh, this would have been a handy argument to make when I was a kid. "Mom, large doses of meatloaf have never been shown to be SAFE."

    Your mom had the best of intentions. She was just trying to teach you that, while you might do anything for love, you mustn't do that.
    posted by CKmtl at 1:26 PM on February 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


    "Mom, large doses of meatloaf have never been shown to be SAFE."

    It can also be problematic when fired at a high enough velocity or dropped on you from a sufficient height.

    Fucking meatloaf. It's a killer is what it is.
    posted by quin at 2:21 PM on February 20, 2009


    The Dilemma of the Dangerous Meatloaf. A nightmare... of 21st century pedagogy. I
    posted by Miko at 7:40 PM on February 20, 2009


    "Gee, I hope nobody with smallpox comes in this room."...

    You'd think that the immunosupperssed wouldn't go into germ factories like grocery stores and the park or the movies. Do you think that maybe they would let someone else do the shopping and get a netflix account?


    These are two of the most insane, idiotic and ignorant comments I've read so far on MeTa.

    Autism Risk Rises with Age of Father

    Certainly true in my direct and broader experience - my father-in-law is 88, and his two autistic sons are 28 and 18.

    Nutloaf!
    posted by goo at 8:44 PM on February 20, 2009


    Ckmti:Your mom had the best of intentions. She was just trying to teach you that, while you might do anything for love, you mustn't do that.

    You know, I never really got that song until I saw this commercial.
    posted by Deathalicious at 8:56 AM on February 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Also a rubbernecker, but after all this crap I wonder, what's the harm in "hoping" for something that's going to happen anyway?

    I hope your children live forever, Balisong. But keep them the fuck away from mine in the meantime, you know?

    I didn't know this was a zero sum game in which we had to look out for our own interests at everyone else's expense to survive. That's badly applied Darwinian theory, actually. You can't count on herd protection if you don't do your bit as a member of the herd. And as everyone here has pointed out ad nauseam, your reasoning is flawed. You aren't protecting your children. You're protecting your own ignorance.
    posted by fourcheesemac at 12:36 PM on February 21, 2009


    (Also, am I the only one who thinks "Mrs. Balisong" seems a bit contrived?)
    posted by fourcheesemac at 12:38 PM on February 21, 2009


    You can lead survivalists to water, but you can't make them think.
    posted by five fresh fish at 2:02 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


    (Also, am I the only one who thinks "Mrs. Balisong" seems a bit contrived?)

    She sounds real enough. I've seen enough posts like that, almost word for word on some of my mommy lists. Balisong's voice is ... different from the Mrs.

    If you want to see the anti-vax echo chamber in action, go to mothering dot com.
    posted by lysdexic at 8:14 PM on February 21, 2009


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